The situation between Taylor Swift and her former record label, Big Machine, and a guy called Scooter Braun is a little complex - so here's a primer to begin with.
Taylor Swift's former record label, ran by a guy called Scott Borchetta, sold her back catalogue including her first six albums to another guy called Scooter Braun. This effectively included all the songs that made Taylor Swift popular, such as 'We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together', 'Shake It Off', 'Style' and loads of other songs you've either hummed along to inadvertently or just plain enjoyed the hell out of.
Anyway, Swift's back catalogue was sold for a sum of $300 million as part of a major deal and involved ownership of all her songs and albums up to a certain point. Leaving aside how Swift felt about Scooter Braun for a minute, Swift's initial plan was to simply re-record all her songs and essentially move on with the whole thing.
Swift had previously described Braun - who manages the likes of Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Usher, Idina Menzel, Psy (remember him?), and is Kanye West's "adviser", per Scooter's own words because Kanye doesn't like the word manager.
Anyway, Swift previously accused Braun of "incessant manipulative bullying" and said that she was "sad and grossed out" by the fact that he had now control of the master tapes of the albums that effectively launched her career. Braun, meanwhile, claimed that he had no "malicious intent" and did everything above board when he bought Swift's catalogue.
This all happened a few months ago and since then, all's been quiet - until last night, when Swift essentially put her own private army of fans - the Swifties - on the march after she revealed that Braun is blocking her from performing her own songs, and that a long-awaited Netflix documentary is now up in the air.
Here's Swift's statement in full as published by her last night.
Don’t know what else to do pic.twitter.com/1uBrXwviTS
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 14, 2019
"Guys – It’s been announced recently that the American Music Awards will be honoring me with the Artist of the Decade Award at this year’s ceremony. I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show. Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun have now said that I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year."
"Additionally – and this isn’t the way I had planned on telling you this news – Netflix has created a documentary about my life for the past few years. Scott and Scooter have declined the use of my older music or performance footage for this project, even though there is no mention of either of them or Big Machine Records anywhere in the film."
"Scott Borchetta told my team that they’ll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree to not re-record copycat versions of my songs next year (which is something I’m both legally allowed to do and looking forward to) and also told my team that I need to stop talking about him and Scooter Braun."
"I feel very strongly that sharing what is happening to me could change the awareness level for other artists and potentially help them avoid a similar fate. The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished."
"This is WRONG. Neither of these men had a hand in the writing of those songs. They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans. So this is where I’m asking for your help."
"Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this. Scooter also manages several artists who I really believe care about other artists and their work. Please ask them for help with this – I’m hoping that maybe they can talk some sense into the men who are exercising tyrannical control over someone who just wants to play the music she wrote. I’m especially asking for help from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of my music to these two men."
"I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it. I’ve tried to work this out privately through my team but have not been able to resolve anything. Right now my performance at the AMA’s, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November of 2020 are a question mark."
"I love you guys and I thought you should know what’s been going on."
So, what happens now? Well, already the hashtag #IStandWithTaylor trended across Twitter all last night and it's the biggest celebrity story of the day so far, so she's already highlighted her plight to the world.
More than that, people like Lily Allen, Halsey, and Sara Bareilles have come out in support of Swift, while people appear to be turning on the likes of Karlie Kloss, Shawn Mendes and others who were once supportive of Swift and now seem to have turned against her.
— LILYALLEN2.0 (@lilyallen) November 15, 2019
Basically, it's turning into some kind of pop civil war with no real winners or losers. On the one hand, Swift made a deal that saw her become very rich and saw her waive the rights to her music in the process. On the other, these are songs that she wrote and performed that helped not just make her rich, but many others off the back of it and she should be entitled to continue performing them.
Yes, that's a lot to get through in the middle of the morning, but do you want to just go about your life NOT knowing what's going on with Taylor Swift?