Taylor Swift cleared to perform her old hits at awards show

Lucas Shaw

Taylor Swift’s old music label, Big Machine Label Group, said she’s free to perform her past hits at an upcoming awards show, potentially resolving a dispute that splashed into public view last week.

Big Machine issued a statement Monday saying it reached a deal with Dick Clark Productions, the producer of the American Music Awards, clearing Swift to perform. The label couched it as a joint declaration, though Dick Clark Productions said later it had nothing to do with it.

Taylor Swift performs at Amazon Music's Prime Day concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

Even so, the development appears to remove a cloud hanging over the event. Swift said on social media last week that Big Machine wouldn’t allow her to perform any of the songs she recorded for that label. Swift produced her first six albums for Big Machine, including most of her biggest hits.

Swift is set to perform Nov. 24 at the award show, where she will be crowned artist of the decade. Swift, 29, has won more than a dozen AMAs in her career, including artist of the year in 2018.

It’s unusual for a record label to block an artist from performing old hits. Performances bring renewed attention to songs, thus adding to their value. But Swift has been threatening to rerecord her old songs and scuttle sales of those owned by Big Machine as part of a monthslong feud between the pop star and her old label.

In its statement, Big Machine said it had come to terms with Dick Clark Productions “on a licensing agreement that approves their artists’ performances to stream post show and for rebroadcast on mutually approved platforms.”

The pact includes the award show, the label said. “It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media,” the company said. “Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists’ audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed.”

Dick Clark Productions responded to the statement by saying it never agreed to the remarks and there was no partnership. “Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift’s management team,” the company said. “We have no further comment.”

Swift began her campaign when Big Machine announced it had been sold to Scooter Braun, the manager of Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber. Swift, who moved to Vivendi Group SA’s Republic Records last year, claims she was rebuffed when she tried to buy her recordings back. Big Machine has rejected her version of events.