Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Taylor Swift still cares about her reputation

Taylor Swift is back.

It’s a softer Swift in comparison to the persona that accompanied her “reputation” album, but it’s still a Swift that isn’t afraid to speak out against those she sees as bullies to dominate the headlines.

This time that bully is Scooter Braun.

At the end of June, Swift’s former record label, Big Machine Records, was acquired by Braun and his company, Ithaca Holdings, for a whopping $300 million. Scott Borchetta, the founder and CEO of Big Machine, spoke about the deal with excitement considering Braun’s success in the music industry with artists like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Swift didn’t see it that way.

In a post to Tumblr, Swift vented to her fans. She wrote: “I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.”

Besides Bieber and Grande as artists under Braun’s belt, he is also the manager of rapper Kanye West, an artist that Swift has bad history with.

Swift went on in her Tumblr post to write about the phone call that West’s wife Kim Kardashian recorded between Swift and West, the suspected bullying that followed after from Bieber and West and the music video for West’s song “Famous” that featured a naked Swift look-a-like alongside other celebrities. That song also has lyrics “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex, Why? I made that b—- famous.”

To Taylor Swift, the culmination of perceived bullying and harassment was the sale of her master recordings to the man she sees as pulling the strings. Fans were quick to jeer and sneer at Braun and Borchetta, seeing them as another example of powerful men in an industry taking away something of value from a female artist.

Let’s pause though.

Taylor Swift is yet again pulling the victim card as quick as she can from the stack of cards. It’s been her narrative for the last three years and so much so that her last album was conceptualized around the idea that her reputation was attempting to be destroyed by those around her.

Constance Grady wrote for Vox News that the divisive nature of the commentary on social media is good for Swift. Grady wrote: “That kind of divisiveness has become par for the course with Swift. As her public image has evolved, she’s increasingly courted major public feuds of the sort where everyone is invited to take sides — and increasingly, it seems that no matter how the headlines play out for her, Swift is winning.”

Something that always been bothersome about the public persona of Swift is the sweet, small town girl image she gives off. In her earlier years as an artist, Swift was a country artist who sang sweet songs that teenagers could fall in love with. Her songs “Love Story,” “Our Song,” “The Story of Us,” and “Fifteen” are infectious with catchy lyrics.

She’s just a girl and a guitar.

But wait.

Taylor Swift’s father is a former stockbroker for Merrill Lynch and upon Taylor signing to Big Machine Records back in 2005, he purchased a 3% stake in the company and has had a stake ever since. It’s not very common for artists’ parents to have financial stakes in the labels their children are signed to. It’s a little peculiar.

This information is public also. It’s referenced in a 2012 cover story for Rolling Stone magazine on Swift that was printed prior to the release of the album “Red.” She doesn’t hide from the story of her father having a stake in her former label.

The Tumblr post she penned about the sale to Braun goes on to say: “This is my worst case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at 15 to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept.”

But Taylor, your dad must have been involved in your deal if he bought a stake in the company? Swift writes this as if she was a 15-year-old signing a record deal with no parental supervision while big, scary men towered over her. It is publicly known that this is not the case.

Swift is no longer with Big Machine Records but instead now signed to Republic Records, where she has more control and ownership over her master recordings. Her master recordings are a big part of the frustration over Braun now owning Big Machine.

Master recordings are the original recordings of songs by an artist besides the versions available on Spotify, Apple Music, etc. Swift has publicly proclaimed that she will re-record the master recordings for her previous six albums under Big Machine so that she has ownership.

Swift’s seventh album “Lover” was released on Aug. 23, the first album under Republic Records. It’s a light-hearted album, complete with songs about love and maturity. It’s a Swift that appears to be returning to her old roots of melancholy. She’s also been an advocate for the LGBT community and been politically outspoken in recent years, which may make her more appealing to some.

Swift is a talented singer-songwriter whose voice has captured millions and songs have spoken to audiences everywhere. She’s also been in the public eye for over 10 years, so she’s well aware of the importance of controlling the story.

Don’t fall for the victim role Swift continues to play. The money rolls in faster when you do.

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