Taylor Swift's American Music Awards performance still in doubt despite reported agreement

Dick Clark Productions denies deal with Big Machine over artist's old songs

Taylor Swift’s plan to perform her older material at the American Music Awards was still in doubt Monday. AMA producers Dick Clark Productions appeared to dismiss a claim by the singer’s former record label, Big Machine, that the two sides had reached terms on a licensing agreement.

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Big Machine said it had reached a deal with Dick Clark Productions “to stream post-show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms,” including the AMAs, according to a statement obtained by Variety. The apparent deal was announced days after Swift accused the record label of attempting to block her planned performance, escalating a lengthy public dispute over ownership of her back catalog of music.

“It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media,” the statement added. “Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists’ audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed.”

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In a follow-up statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Dick Clark Productions disputed that it had reached any such deal with Big Machine.

“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," the firm said in the statement. "Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift’s management team. We have no further comment.”

Swift and her publicist, Tree Paine, have yet to publicly address the statement.

The 29-year-old artist wrote on Twitter last week that Big Machine co-founders Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun had sought to block her from performing a medley of her old songs at the award show where Swift is set to receive an “Artist of the Decade.” Additionally, the label is said to have declined to approve use of Swift’s old songs in an upcoming Netflix special.

Swift added that Borchetta informed her team that she could only perform her old music if she agreed “not to re-record copycat versions of my songs next year” and stopped talking about Borchetta and Braun in the media.

“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,” Swift said. “The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.”

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In a separate post, Paine alleged that big Machine owes Swift $7.9 million in unpaid royalties.

Big Machine disputes Swift’s claims, arguing in its response that they were based on false information.

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“At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special,” the label said. “In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere. Since Taylor’s decision to leave Big Machine last fall, we have continued to honor all of her requests to license her catalog to third parties as she promotes her current record in which we do not financially participate.”

This story has been updated to include Dick Clark Production's dispute that a deal had been reached.