Reputation and the power of influence: Taylor Swift vs Big Machine Records

Good morning all! 

I wanted to talk about a big headline this week in the world of music as it really caught my attention and made me think of 3 things: reputation, ethics and the power of influence and social media. 

Taylor Swift is one of the worlds most successful music artists of this decade. After recently being awarded artist of the decade by the American Music Awards, she was preparing to do a big medley of all of her songs to celebrate this achievement. 

On November 14th, Taylor released a statement across all social media platforms which revealed that she wasn’t allowed to perform any of her songs that she wrote under Big Machine Records unless she followed their rules (i.e. not re-recording her old albums so she then has ownership of them again).


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(Image taken from: Taylor Swift Facebook-

Now, this seems unethical on the record labels part and completely out of line. However, Taylor Swift has a very loyal fan base with 123 million followers on Instagram and 85 million followers on Twitter, and some would do what ever they could to stick up for her. This then resulted into Scooter Brain (a partner of Big Machine Records) receiving death threats to him and his family whilst also denying that the record company ever stopped her singing her songs to celebrate her music achievement.

It’s interesting to see the influence that one pop star’s statement can have and the impact it can make to others lives. Taylor Swift, whilst essentially a victim in this should be aware of the influential power she has and should use it wisely. I understand this situation felt out of her control but the teams of Big Machine and Taylor Swift should be in communication to settle this issue effectively. 

There are some things to be learnt from this situation: 

  • Influence is everything. If you have a strong online following, everything you choose to discuss online is open to judgement by others in a variety of ways. Be careful what you share and think of the repercussions this can have on yourself and others. 
  • Reputation: again this links to influence. What you choose to discuss publicly again will impact your reputation. In this case, Big Machine Records have been publicly shamed by Taylor Swift due to their alleged lack of fairness to let her perform her own songs. This may make other artists wary of signing with them based on how they handle this issue. 
  • Know what you’re signing up for: as a business/aspiring professional, people choose to make decisions before understanding what they’re signing up for. We do this all the time with simple things like terms and conditions, we don’t read them. Once you sign, you are tied to the company’s contract and rules, even if you leave. Taylor Swift is learning this the extremely hard way. 

This week, she went onto win numerous awards at the AMA’s and also perform her medley of songs as she should have been allowed to in the first place, whilst this battle has got over one hurdle, I’m certain this isn’t the end of this complicated situation.

What are your thoughts on the issue? Are you Team Taylor or Team Big Machine? 

Until next time! 

Abi x 

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