The recently-crowned Artist of the Decade attacks Scooter Braun and all of his supporters at the 2019 Billboard Women in Music event.
While she didn't address her ongoing battle with Scooter Braun over her masters the 2019 Billboard Music Awards directly, Taylor Swift absolutely unloaded while accepting the first-ever Woman of the Decade honors at the Billboard Women in Music event in Los Angeles Thursday night.
The "You Need to Calm Down" singer unleashed a scathing attack of the music industry in a lengthy speech, and some of what she says she endured as a woman who found "success beyond people's comfort level."
She talked about her vocal ability being questioned, people doubting that she wrote her own music. "At that time I couldn't understand why this wave of harsh criticism had hit me so hard."
And so, she said she spent too many years reacting to it. "They're saying I'm dating too much in my twenties? OK, I'll stop. I'll just be single for years," she said. "Now they're saying my album 'Red' is filled with too many breakup songs? OK, I'll make one about moving to New York and deciding my life is just more fun with my friends."
She even credited her shift to pop music to criticism that her music was changing too much for more traditional country music genres. She said that she was reacting to public and industry perceptions all the way through the release of "Reputation," which was in response to her being seen as "a villain."
"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, adding, "The only way forward is forward motion. We shouldn't let obstacles like criticism slow down the creative forces that drive us."
And that's the lesson Swift says the last decade has given her. "I saw that people loved to explain away a woman's success in the music industry and I saw something in me change due to this realization," she explained. "This was the decade when I became a mirror for my detractors. Whatever they decided I couldn't do is exactly what I did. Whatever they criticized about me became material for musical satire or inspirational anthems."
She went on to summarize, "Basically if people had something to say about me I said something back in my own way."
Even as she championed the strides women have made in the industry, she turned her attention to what she sees as a huge hurdle yet to be surmounted, and one she's been dealing with very publicly and very personally, "the unregulated world of private equity coming in and buying up our music as if it is real estate."
She then went in on Scooter Braun's purchase of her masters, as part of his acquiring Big Machine Group, an act she says was done without her "approval, consultation or consent."
"Of course, Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale or even when it was announced," Swift said. "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," she continued. "Of course he's nice to you. If you're in this room, you have something he needs."
Applauding and thanking the women in the industry who have publicly backed her throughout her battle with Braun over her masters, Swift said, "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."
Braun has indicated multiple times that he has attempted to bring Swift to the table to discuss the deal, but that she has patently refused to come. He recently went public with this plea after he says his family has received death threat following Swift's latest public attack where she called on her fans to let Braun know how they felt about the situation last month.
"I was shocked and disheartened to hear that my presence in the Big Machine deal caused you so much pain as the handful of times we have actually met I have always remembered them to be pleasant and respectful," Braun wrote as part of his statement.
He went on to say that while he disagreed with many of Swift's statements about the situation and is frustrated by her accusations, "it is important that I am clear - no artist should ever feel cornered or bullied." Swift has alleged years of bullying at Braun's hands prior to the acquisition of her masters, which is something he has denied.
He then reiterated that he simply wants to "rectify the situation" and that he is "open to ALL possibilities." Again claiming that his efforts to get Swift to the table to talk this through have been ignored, he went with a public plea to ask that they "come together and try to find a resolution."
With her latest public indictment of Braun, it doesn't sound like the two parties are any closer to coming together on this issue.