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Taylor Swift accuses former label of “shameless greed” with new live album release

By | Published on Friday 24 April 2020

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has accused her former label Big Machine of “shameless greed” as it releases a radio performance she recorded in 2008 as a new live album.

The musician says that she did not approve the release and that she only became aware of it last night, when fans pointed it out to her.

Swift and her former label have been in an ongoing headling-grabbing battle since last year, of course. This began when high profile artist manager Scooter Braun bought the record company last year, which she described as her “worst case scenario”.

At the centre of the dispute is the fact that Big Machine owns the rights in all but her latest album. So angry about this is she, that she has said that she plans to record new versions of all her older albums as soon as re-record restrictions in her original record contract end.

In an Instagram story post last night, Swift said: “I want to thank my fans for making me aware that my former record label is putting out an ‘album’ of live performances of mine tonight. This recording is from a 2008 radio show performance I did when I was eighteen. Big Machine has listed the date as a 2017 release, but they’re actually releasing it tonight at midnight”.

“I’m always honest with you guys about this stuff”, she went on. “So I just wanted to tell you that this release is not approved by me. It looks to me like Scooter Braun and his financial backers – 23 Capital, Alex Soros and the Soros family, and The Carlyle Group – have seen the latest balance sheets and realised that paying $330 million [for Big Machine] wasn’t exactly a wise choice and they need money”.

“In my opinion”, she concludes, this is “just another case of shameless greed in the time of coronavirus. So tasteless, but very transparent”.

Although Swift claims the label has listed the album as a 2017 release, on streaming services it is marked as a 2020 production. However, how streaming services actually display it differs.

For example, Apple Music puts it at the top of the list of her live albums, which appears near the bottom of her profile page. Spotify lumps all studio and live albums together, but correctly lists this release as a 2008 recording, meaning it appears on her profile just above her 2006 debut. Either way, in both cases there’s a lot of scrolling to be done before anyone stumbles across it.

The eight-track release only features songs from Swift’s first and second albums. So, for the bulk of her fanbase, who joined her after she flipped from country to pop music, it’s debatable if the release will be of much interest. However, perhaps by burying it somewhat, the label is testing the water for other such releases of Swift music from its archive.