Taylor Swift hits out at former label's 'shameless greed' for releasing unauthorised live album

Taylor Swift’s feud with her former label, Big Machine, clearly is not over yet. The singer took to her Instagram Stories on Thursday to protest the record company’s alleged plan to put out a live Swift album this week — a release that she apparently had no knowledge of until fans alerted her on social media, and one that she condemns as a callous cash grab.

"Hey guys — 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 18. Big Machine has listed the date as a 2017 release but they're actually releasing it tonight at midnight," Swift posted.

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Taylor Swift's Instagram Stories post on April 23. (Photo: Instagram)
Taylor Swift's Instagram Stories post on April 23. (Photo: Instagram)

"I'm always honest with you guys about this stuff so I just wanted to tell you that this release is not approved by me,” Swift stressed. “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 my music wasn't exactly a wise choice and they need money.”

Swift concluded by decrying Big Machine’s move as “just another case of shameless greed in the time of coronavirus. So tasteless, but very transparent."

Swift’s missive is the latest development in her battle with Big Machine — the label that issued her first six albums, before she left for Republic Records to release Lover last year — to own her masters. The drama began in June 2019, when Swift learned that high-powered music manager Scooter Braun, a man she’d accused of “incessant, manipulative bullying” over the years, had just purchased the Big Machine Label Group, thus suddenly acquiring the rights to her back catalog. She described the deal as her "worst case scenario.”

This feud publicly escalated last November, when Swift claimed that Big Machine label head Scott Borchetta (who signed her when she was just a teenager) and Braun were forbidding her from performing her hits at that month’s American Music Awards and from using those songs in her planned Netflix documentary, Miss Americana. Big Machine denied Swift’s accusations with a lengthy statement on its website, writing, “Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist.”

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There is no announcement of a Swift live album release on Big Machine’s website or Twitter, and at press time, neither Borchetta nor Braun have made mention of it on their own social media page or have responded to Swift’s Instagram post. A representative for the Big Machine Label Group also did not immediately return Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.

However, a placeholder page for the release, titled Live From Clear Channel Stripped 2008, does exist on Spotify. And Swift’s loyal fans have assured her that they will boycott this album, when and if it does come out.