A “Fearless” Taylor Swift just launched merchandise inspired by her back catalog, basically baiting Big Machine Label Group and Scooter Braun to “Speak Now” or forever hold their peace.
The pop sensation unveiled the new threads on her website Monday, a day after she performed her old songs at the American Music Awards, in spite of alleged attempts by her former label to prevent her from singing tracks from her first six studio albums — which music mogul Braun controversially acquired in his purchase of Big Machine earlier this year.
The black-and-white shirt is modeled after Swift’s AMAs costume, which she wore while performing a medley of her greatest hits to celebrate being crowned artist of the decade. The outfit prominently featured her earlier album titles — “Taylor Swift,” “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989" and “Reputation” — which many perceived as a silent dig at Big Machine.
Notably absent from the long-sleeve shirt was “Lover” — a.k.a. Swift’s latest effort and the only collection not owned by the label.
The AMAs drama began days before the actual ceremony when Swift blasted Big Machine, Braun and label founder Scott Borchetta on social media for allegedly forbidding her from singing her older music at the show or using it in her forthcoming Netflix documentary.
Big Machine’s team promptly responded to her claims, insisting they never said she “could not perform on the AMAs” or that they attempted to “block her Netflix special,” adding that they “do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere.” The public statement did not specifically address her accusations that it prevented her from singing her earlier titles or using them in the documentary.
Not backing down, Swift’s team raged back via a Twitter post from the singer-songwriter’s rep, Tree Paine.
“Yesterday Scott Borchetta, CEO and founder of Big Machine Label Group, flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix,” Paine’s statement said. “Please notice in Big Machine’s statement, they never actually deny either claim that Taylor said last night.”
The conflict continued all the way up until the Friday before the awards, when Braun — speaking publicly about the feud for the first time — posted an open letter to Swift, detailing death threats his family allegedly received from devoted Swifties as a result of her internet call to arms.
Come showtime Sunday, a triumphant Swift belted her oldies anyway and delivered a passionate acceptance speech about the trials of the music business.
“The fact is that the last year of my life had the most amazing times and the hardest things I’ve gone through, a lot of things that haven’t been public,” Swift said as she accepted the award for artist of the year in her second speech of the night. “I wanted to thank you for being the thing that’s been constant in life. This industry is really weird.”
Whether Big Machine plans to respond to her new back catalog-inspired merch with a copyright complaint and eventual “We never said she couldn’t sell merchandise” damage control statement remains to be seen. The edgy monochrome shirt is on sale now for $40.