Taylor Swift Finally Has Permission To Perform Her Old Songs At The AMAs — Here's Everything We Know About The Performance

    We'll have to wait until Sunday to see exactly what she has planned.

    On Sunday, Taylor Swift will be honoured as Artist of the Decade at the American Music Awards. She'll be the first woman to ever receive the honour, which has previously been given to artists like the Beatles and Stevie Wonder.

    Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

    The award will be presented by Carole King, who called Swift "an extraordinary songwriter who has cultivated a unique and personal relationship with her audience."

    Lester Cohen / Getty Images

    "As a woman songwriter who also got into the music world at a young age, I know the kind of determination, struggle and single-minded perseverance it has taken for her to reach such heights," King said in a statement.

    Unfortunately, the event has been surrounded by some controversy after Swift published a lengthy Tumblr post last week alleging that she was being blocked from performing her old songs at the ceremony by Scott Borchetta, owner of her old record label Big Machine.

    However, on Monday the label issued a statement confirming that they had ultimately agreed to grant Swift permission to perform her old songs during the AMAs.

    The whole situation has been full of back-and-forth statements and confusing accusations. So let's take a look at what actually happened to get us here...

    BBC

    It all started back in June, when Scooter Braun's company purchased Big Machine Records — and therefore all the master recordings of Taylor Swift's first six albums — for $300 million.

    Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images / taylorswift.tumblr.com

    Writing on Tumblr after the news was announced, Swift called the acquisition her "worst nightmare", explaining that she had experienced "incessant, manipulative bullying" at Braun's hands "for years".

    Swift also revealed that while she had never been offered the opportunity to purchase the rights to her masters outright, Borchetta said she could sign a new 10-year contract with the label and "earn back" the rights to each old album for every new one she turned in.

    So how does all of this relate to Taylor's performance at the AMAs? Well, allow me to explain...

    In August, Swift announced that she planned to rerecord her old music when she was legally able to in November 2020. This would allow her to own the new master recordings, and therefore the rights to the new versions of her old songs.

    ABC

    But in her most recent Tumblr post, she revealed that Big Machine and Scooter Braun were attempting to block her from performing any of her old songs on TV, claiming that would count as "rerecording" her old music before she is legally allowed to.

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images, Rick Diamond / Getty Images

    Swift also dropped the huge news that she has been working with Netflix on a documentary about the last few years of her life.

    "Scott and Scooter have declined the use of my older music or performance footage for this project, even though there is no mention of either of them or Big Machine Records anywhere in the film," she wrote.

    The day after Swift published her Tumblr post, Big Machine released a lengthy statement of their own, saying they were "shocked" by the "false information" in Swift's post.

    However, very soon after Big Machine's statement was published, Swift's publicist jumped onto Twitter to clarify a few points.

    First, she pointed out that Swift never said Big Machine were attempting to keep her from performing live, but rather that they refused to allow her to perform her old music on TV as part of the planned medley.

    Rich Fury / Getty Images

    She also quoted correspondence from Big Machine's VP of Rights Management and Business Affairs, where he said the label would not allow the use of Swift's old music in the Netflix documentary and for a recent televised performance in Shanghai. Instead, Swift performed three songs from her most recent album, Lover.

    She also responded to the label's claims that Swift owes them money, saying: "An independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million of unpaid royalties over several years."

    Angela Weiss / Getty Images

    Then, three days later, another statement came from Big Machine's Twitter, saying they "have agreed to grant all licenses of their artists' performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms."

    "It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media," the statement went on.

    To make things more confusing, Dick Clark Productions — the company behind the AMAs — released a statement of their own saying they had no involvement in any agreement between Swift and Big Machine. But, based on Big Machine's statement, it looks as though the agreement has been reached.

    Essentially, the original issue was with Swift's performance being recorded and re-broadcast after the live show ended which, as she said in her Tumblr post, the label argued would count as her rerecording her old music before she was legally allowed to.

    So, it looks as though all is well and Swift ~does~ have permission to perform her planned medley of hits at this weekend's ceremony. Whether she will choose to, however, is another question entirely.

    Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

    And — while we don't know what she's planning for sure — fans have, of course, been searching for clues. On Thursday night, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong posted a photo of "Bad Blood" lyrics on Instagram, leading fans to speculate about some kind of collaboration.

    📷 IG | Billie Joe Armstrong from @GreenDay shares lyrics to ‘Bad Blood’ during #AMAs rehearsals via his Instagram story

    It's already been confirmed that the band will be performing at the ceremony to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their album, Dookie.

    We can all tune into the AMAs this Sunday to find out exactly what the Artist of the Decade has in store for us!

    #TaylorSwift

    Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Bate at eleanor.bate@buzzfeed.com.

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