Taylor Swift’s Feud with Scott Borchetta Sheds a New Light on Reputation

Photo via  The Atlantic

Photo via The Atlantic

By: Katie Cherrix

After the highly anticipated April 26th release of Swift’s new single, it seemed that the worst was behind Taylor as she and her “Swifites” moved into a new era of glitter, rainbows, and pastels. Swift recently announced her upcoming album release of Lover, which is set for August 23rd of this year, but breaking headlines describing “Bad Blood” with her former record label, Big Machine Records, have caused fans to theorize about several of the songs on the Reputation album. 

On Sunday, Swift told her fans that Scooter Braun acquired Big Machine Records for 300 million dollars. This announcement comes just months after Swift announced she would be leaving Big Machine to sign with Republic Records. Her departure came at the end of a ten-year contract with her former label. Because Braun has acquired Big Machine, he consequently owns all of Swift’s albums, from her debut record to Reputation

This news was described by Swift as her “worst nightmare.” Swift claims to have been relentlessly bullied by Scooter on social media over the past few years; she states in her Tumblr post, “When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually, he would sell them. Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter.” While there were negotiations between Swift and Borchetta to allow her the rights to her music, they never reached an agreement, and ultimately, Swift left the label when her contract ended. 

While the details surrounding the feuding trio remain controversial, “Swifties” have taken to their social accounts,stating, “We stand with Taylor.” Despite the melancholy nature of these happenings, Swift’s fans have developed new theories about Reputation lyrics. Swift has become known for leaving “Easter Eggs” in her music videos and lyrics; “Look What You Made Me Do,” “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” “Getaway Car,” and “I Did Something Bad” all take on a new meaning in light of the recent drama, according to the fans. 

While all of these singles have been analyzed, the debut single for Swift’s 2017 album, “Look What You Made Me Do,” has undoubtedly garnered the most speculation from fans. Lyrics such as “I don’t like your kingdom keys/they once belonged to me” appear to reference Swift being denied ownership of her work. When Taylor was 14, Scott Borchetta signed the young musician before Big Machine was ever created. Fans have speculated that the lyrics “you asked me for a place to sleep/locked me out and threw a feast” could be hinting at Swift’s critical role in the success of the label, and her name on the roster being the reason it sold for such a high price. 

The most striking theory of all is that the scene from the LWYMMD music video in which the “new” Taylor stands on top of the old versions of herself as they fall away, begging for mercy, is actually an Easter Egg that represents Taylor leaving behind her past, her music, and her life’s work as she steps away from her record label. Whether or not these fan theories are true remains unconfirmed, but “one thing’s for sure,” Swift has made it clear that she believes that artists deserve to own their creations. Swift notes that many of the songs that Braun now owns were written on her bedroom floor as a teenager, a detail mentioned in her Tumblr post addressing the issue. 

Swift has also been a proponent of the Equality Act and has been regularly urging her followers to sign her petition. 



Kayla Pasacreta