If you're Taylor Swift in 2019, you never quite get things right. But we've long had it in for the pop singer, says Jennifer McShane. Now she simply wants to own the art she created, yet some sides of the internet still say it's nothing but attention-seeking. Are we seeing the whole picture?
Taylor Swift was late to the #Pride support party, so say her critics. For years she deliberately took a backseat when it came to activism and a political stance but when she emerged fully ready to make her views known, it was too little, too late.
Why didn't she didn't she say it sooner? Why doesn't she talk about her love life anymore? How did she get so many men to date her?
These are just some of the critic's taunts.
Why does she always play the victim? Again.
The was a chant seen all day on social media.
But what exactly happened?
Swift has accused music mogul Scooter Braun of "bullying" after he bought most of the US pop star's life's work, thanks to his acquisition of her former record label Big Machine for $300m (£237m).
On Sunday morning, news broke that powerful talent manager Scooter Braun had signed a reported $300 million deal to purchase the Nashville-based Big Machine Label Group. It’s also the former home of Taylor Swift. The founder of BMLG is Scott Borchetta, who is famous for signing Swift to his independent label in 2005, when she was an unknown teenage country singer. As Swift’s career took off into the stratosphere, she and Borchetta had a very lucrative partnership. Swift’s contract expired in November and she decided to leave Big Machine to sign a deal with Universal Music Group.
In a scathing Tumblr post, Swift expressed anger and disappointment — more specifically, she was “grossed out” — that Braun was now the owner of Big Machine, and by extension, the owner of the masters (the rights to her songs) from her first six albums. She accused him of bullying tactics (she has been 'feuding' with him for years reportedly) - and even added Kanye West and Justin Biber to the mix.
— h (@halsey) June 30, 2019
For a label to own artists’ masters is fairly common, but many argue that it strips artists of control of their own music. Unless the artists buy the rights back themselves. Swift was offered this, she says. Swift refused.
"For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead, I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums.”
Braun formerly managed Kanye West, who has a rocky history with Swift. He infamously interrupted her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards to announce that she didn’t deserve her award. Years later, he rapped, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b---- famous.” West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, then publicly released a secretly recorded audio clip in which Swift appears to give the rapper permission for his crass lyric.
“Kim Kardashian orchestrated an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call to be leaked and then Scooter got his two clients together to bully me online about it,” she continued on Tumbler. Bieber posted an apology on Instagram on Sunday for the “hurtful” and “distasteful” post Swift mentions three years ago, but defended Braun, his manager, who he insisted Swift was unfairly defaming.
Many came to Braun's defence, including his wife and other artists he works with. He himself said he told Swift in advance what was happening and that Swift orchestrated the public post for her own means. He alleged that she not only knew of the takeover but was also fine with handing over her masters.
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If it sounds messy, it's because it is.
But Swift has her supporters, yet it doesn't seem to be enough.
A common narrative thread in all this seems to be Swifts' ever-shaky reputation.
Some just don't want to believe she is a woman who wants to rightfully own the work she has spent years creating.
The powerful men involved insist that it must be her fault, in one way or another.
But isn't that what always happens?
She's too perfect, too false, too unlikeable.
She never "recovered" from the Kanye West drama, and will never step up on a pedestal again. A quick Google of the pop star would suggest that she has brought her "downfall" on herself. The girl who was once America's Sweetheart has been reduced to having a case of the "Anne Hathaways" - i.e., the masses hating on her for no reason other than because she's an ambitious, successful woman.
And it's a well-documented problem; that success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. Her success is treated with suspicion; the way she always acts surprised to win awards is fake and annoying, and her unapologetic demeanour means she must be told her place. Whereas the Justin Bieber's and Tiger Woods of the world can always be forgiven.
She is never to be forgiven it seems. She must be put in her place.
Even when it comes to her own creativity.
But why must she be the villain?
If #MeToo has taught us anything, it's that those responsible will hide in the shadows - while talented women take the fallout.
Say what you will, but Swift deserves better than this.
Main photograph: @THR