Is Taylor Swift performing at the American Music Awards tonight? Will she play her old songs and music? Fans across the world are wondering these questions in the wake of the public drama between Swift and Big Machine Records, in which Swift alleges she has been barred from singing any of her older songs.
Swift first announced her upcoming performance and award for Artist of the Decade in a tweet on November 14. In that same tweet, Swift revealed that she might not be able to play any songs from her first six albums at the AMAs, as she had intended, because of a legal block from Big Machine Records, AKA Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta.
Following that tweet, Braun has since posted to Instagram that Swift is free to play whatever songs she wants, and that she “can and should” do whatever she wants for her performance. Swift has not given a public response to this offering by Braun.
On the morning of the AMAs, Swift posted to her Instagram story, telling fans, “Can’t wait to see you Sunday!”
Here’s what you need to know:
Swift Has Not Confirmed Whether or Not She Will Be Performing any Non-Lover Songs at the AMAs
The majority of Swift’s recordings, AKA her first six studio albums, are now officially owned by Big Machine Records, following a controversial sale in which she claimed to have never been given the chance to purchase her masters herself. In a June 30 Tumblr post, Swift wrote, “This is my worst case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept. And when that man says ‘Music has value’, he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it.”
In response, Big Machine released the apparent “offer” they gave to Swift to purchase back her own music, which did not include her claims that they offered for her to earn back her music, one additional album at a time. You can read that offer here; Swift maintains that she was not given the chance to fairly purchase her own masters before they were sold by Braun for approximately $300 million.
The saga has gone on from there; you can read a full timeline of events here.
What’s important is whether or not Swift will perform old songs — and it’s looking like she will. On November 18, Big Machine released a statement confirming Swift would be able to play any of her music from any album at the award ceremony. Per E! News, the statement reads,
“The Big Machine Label Group and Dick Clark Productions announce that they have come to terms on a licensing agreement that approves their artists’ performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms. This includes the upcoming American Music Awards performance.”
There was an immediate hiccup to that statement, though: soon after, Dick Clark Productions released a statement saying that it never authorized this joint statement with Big Machine. The Dick Clark official statement read,
“At no time did Dick Clark Productions agree to, create, authorize or distribute a statement in partnership with Big Machine Label Group regarding Taylor Swift’s performance at the 2019 American Music Awards. Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift’s management team. We have no further comment.”
If Dick Clark Productions and Swift’s management team reached an agreement, they haven’t publicized it.
Swift’s Performance Might Include Surprise Appearances by Selena Gomez, Kesha, & More, Sources Say
According to a report by Page Six, Swift’s performance at the AMAs could include surprise appearances by some major pop hitters. This includes members of Swift’s friendship squad like Selena Gomez, Kesha, Halsey, and more.
The source said to Page Six, “Taylor will turn her AMA performance into a huge moment, and a powerful message. We are expecting to see artists such as Selena join her on stage as part of a fierce show of female artistic strength and empowerment.”
That source continued, “Then, when accepting her award, Taylor will likely make a statement about artists being able to own their masters, the music they created, and how she feels she has been treated by Scooter and Scott. Her friends are all going to be pushing her message on the red carpet. Taylor’s going to play dirty with elegance and grace.”
Swift’s team has not confirmed whether there is truth to this prediction.