Taylor Swift says Scooter Braun and former label won't let her perform hits from past

Swift was planning on performing a medley of her songs at the American Music Awards, but most of her music still belongs to Braun and her former label.

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By Doha Madani

Taylor Swift had planned to perform a medley of hit songs from throughout her career when she takes the stage later this month to celebrate being named Artist of the Decade at the American Music Awards.

But the pop star may have to rethink her performance because talent manager Scooter Braun, who now owns the rights to her previous albums, won't let her perform them, she says.

The artist wrote on social media Thursday that Braun, who recently bought her first six studio albums, is interfering with the performance, the latest development in a monthslong feud with the manager and Scott Borchetta, chief executive of her former label Big Machine Records.

"Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun have now said that I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed next year," Swift said.

The 29-year-old also claimed that the two men, who own all of her music except the songs from the album "Lover," which was released in August, have refused to allow her older songs to be used in an upcoming Netflix documentary about her career.

"The message being sent to me is very clear," Swift wrote. "Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished."

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Braun and Borchetta did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NBC News.

A spokesperson for the record label on Friday disputed Swift's claim: "As Taylor Swift’s partner for over a decade, we were shocked to see her tumblr statements yesterday based on false information. At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special."

"Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist. All we ask is to have a direct and honest conversation. To date, not one of the invitations to speak with us and work through this has been accepted. Rumors fester in the absence of communication. Let’s not have that continue here. We share the collective goal of giving your fans the entertainment they both want and deserve," the statement said.

Tree Paine, a representative for Swift, responded to the label in a statement posted on Twitter on Friday morning. Paine claimed that Big Machine Records sent Swift's team a message Oct. 28 advising her that the label would "not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its re-recording restrictions" in connection with the Netflix project.

Paine said that in the label's statement, "they never actually deny either claim Taylor said [Thursday] in her post," and adds: "Big Machine is trying to deflect and make this about money by saying she owes them but, an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million of unpaid royalties over several years."

Swift's criticism of both Braun and Borchetta is the latest development in a drama that brought increased attention to artists' ownership rights over their music.

The pop star posted on Tumblr on June 30 that she lost the rights to own the master copies of her first six albums. That catalog includes everything from her self-titled debut album, "Taylor Swift" to the 2017 "Reputation" album.

Swift claimed in her post that she spent years attempting to gain ownership of the master recordings but eventually chose to leave the label rather than sign on to a new contract because she assumed Borchetta would sell the company regardless.

Big Machine Records and Swift parted ways last year and she signed with Universal Music Group. Big Machine Label Group was acquired by a holding company led by Braun in June.

She has called Braun's ownership of her catalog her worst nightmare and claimed the manager had bullied her relentlessly over the years. Swift has since announced that she intends to regain control of her music catalog by re-recording songs next year, once she is legally permitted.

But in the meantime, ownership of Grammy-nominated hits such as "Blank Space" and "You Belong With Me" still belong to Braun and Borchetta.

"This is WRONG. Neither of these men had a hand in the writing of those songs," Swift wrote Thursday. "They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans."

Swift is urging fans to express frustration about the situation to Braun, Borchetta and artists under Braun's management. She said that she believes Braun's artists, including Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, truly care about ownership of their work.

"Please ask them for help with this — I’m hoping that maybe they can talk sense into the men who are exercising tyrannical control over someone who just wants to play the music she wrote," she said.

Daniel Arkin contributed.