Taylor Swift drags Carlyle Group into dispute over AMAs performance

Taylor Swift made a fervent plea to U.S. asset management firm Carlyle Group and her legions of fans for help in her dispute with her former record label, which she claims is blocking her from playing her old hits at the American Music Awards.

The pop star asked Carlyle Group and fans to help her secure ownership of six multiplatinum albums she recorded under Big Machine Label Group, her former label.

"I'm especially asking for help from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of my music to these two men," Swift wrote in posts on her Instagram story, Facebook and Twitter.


TMZ reported on Friday that a Big Machine exec said Swift can "100 percent perform all of her catalog, past and present, on the AMAs." Swift's spokesperson, Tree Paine, maintained the singer's stance in a statement to USA Today.

"Yesterday Scott Borchetta, CEO and founder of Big Machine Label Group, flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix," the statement said. "Big Machine is trying to deflect and make this about money by saying she owes them but, an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years."

In an email to FOX Business, Swift's spokeswoman said that on Oct. 28, the vice president of rights management and business affairs from Big Machine Label sent Swift's team an email saying the label will "not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its re-record restrictions in connection with these two projects," including the Netflix documentary.

"Big Machine is trying to deflect and make this about money by saying she owes them but, an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years," the spokeswoman added.

Her master recordings fell into the hands of music manager Scooter Braun after he acquired Borchetta's Big Machine Label Group for $300 million in June.

Carlyle Group, which has invested in more than 200 companies, from McDonald's to AMC to oil drilling and coal-mining companies, financed the sale. The company did not immediately respond to a FOX Business request for comment.

“Right now my performance at the AMAs, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November 2020 are a question mark,” Swift said.


Swift said in the posts that Borchetta has told her he will allow the projects to go forward if she drops plans to record copycat versions of her older songs next year, which Swift says she plans to do and has the legal right to, and if she stops her public trashing of the two men.

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

The Big Machine Label Group said that it never told Swift she couldn't perform her songs and countered that she owes millions of dollars to it. Big Machine also criticized Swift for enlisting her fans and asked her to engage in “direct and honest conversation” with it.

“I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it,” Swift wrote. “I’ve tried to work out this out privately through my team but have not been able to resolve anything.”

Carlyle Group is not immune to controversy. The Washington, D.C.-based company came under fire last year in political comedian Hasan Minhaj's Netflix show, "Patriot Act." Minhaj pointed out that the Carlyle Group has a number of morally questionable investment relationships, most notably a 23 percent stake in the American electronic hardware distributor WESCO International.

“Together, Wesco and BAE support a fighter jet called the Typhoon, which is used by the Saudis to bomb Yemen,” Minhaj said. “This is a company that profits off of war and obesity."


The Associated Press contributed to this report.