Taylor Swift didn’t use the American Music Awards stage to make a speech about Scooter Braun and the drama around his acquiring the catalog for her first six albums. She waited until the very last night of her 20s to address her feelings about it at a public event, Billboard’s Women in Music event.
In a 15-minute speech, Swift spoke about spending the last 10 years in the music industry, persevering against those who didn’t believe in her, and how women in music are held to a higher standard than men.
“In the last 10 years I have watched as women in this industry are criticized and measured up to each other and picked at for their bodies, their romantic lives, their fashion,” she said, via E!.
“So why are we doing so well?” she continued later. “Because we have to grow fast. We have to work this hard. We have to prove that we deserve this. We have to top our last achievements. Women in music, onstage or behind the scenes, are not allowed to coast. We are held at a higher, sometimes impossible feeling standard. It seems that my fellow female artists have taken this challenge and they have accepted it. It seems like the pressure that could have crushed us made us into diamonds instead. And what didn’t kill us actually did make us stronger.”
She later addressed her feelings about Braun owning the masters to her work.
“After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright, my entire catalogue was sold to Scoter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in a deal that I’m told was funded by the Soros Family, 23 Capital and the Carlyle Group,” she started. “Yet to this day, none of these investors have bothered to contact me or my team directly to perform their due diligence on their investment. On their investment in me, to ask how I might feel about the new owner of my art. The music I wrote. The videos I created. Photos of me, my handwriting, my album designs.”
“Of course, Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale or even when it was announced,” she continued. “I’m fairly certain he knew how I would feel about it, though. Let me just say that the definition of the toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying, ‘Well, he’s always been nice to me’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists and their rights to own their music. Of course he’s nice to you. If you’re in this room you have something he needs.”
“The fact is that private equity enabled this man to think, according to his own social media post, that he could ‘buy me.’ I’m obviously not going willingly. Yet the most amazing thing was to discover that it would be the women in our industry who would have my back and show me the most vocal support at one of the most difficult times and I will never, ever forget it. Like ever.”
You can watch Swift’s full speech below: