Taylor Swift and Virginia GOP Governor Candidate Have Bad Blood

Taylor Swift in concert

Taylor Swift (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

By Amie Knowles

July 30, 2021

Glenn Youngkin’s Carlyle Group help fund the acquisition of all of Swift’s music made before November 2020.

In 2019, the country-turned-pop star alerted fans that any of her songs made before Nov. 2020 – and footage related to those tunes – were in a heap of trouble (trouble, trouble, trouble). 

Swift was battling with her former record label and its new owner, which was refusing to let her perform her own songs at the 2019 American Music Awards. And that situation meant Swift and Virginia’s Republican nominee for governor, Glenn Youngkin, have Bad Blood. 

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

During Youngkin’s time as co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, Swift called on the company to intervene. 

Why? Because the Carlyle Group teamed up with Scooter Braun to acquire the Big Machine Label Group. The deal gave complete ownership of Big Machine Label Group’s owned artist master recordings, including six albums of Swift’s songs, which sparked the 2019 controversy.

“I’m especially asking for help from the Carlyle Group, who put up the money for the sale of my music to these two men. I just want to be able to perform my own music,” Swift said.

Swift also alleged that the music execs declined the use of her older music, which Netflix planned to feature in a then-upcoming documentary about her life. 

The pop star noted that the executives offered to let her sing the songs if and only if she agreed to not re-record copy-cat versions of the tunes the following year. Swift noted that doing so was within her legal rights, and also something she looked forward to. 

Both the 2020 Miss Americana documentary and 2019 AMA performance ultimately contained songs under fire. 

Showing Support

The public fight led political leaders to criticize private equity firms like Youngkin’s Carlyle Group and how they have affected the jobs for everyone from artists like Swift to retail workers..

“Unfortunately, @TaylorSwift13 is one of many whose work has been threatened by a private equity firm. They’re gobbling up more and more of our economy, costing jobs and crushing entire industries. It’s time to rein in private equity firms – and I’ve got a plan for that,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also displayed her support.

“Private equity groups’ predatory practices actively hurt millions of Americans,” Ocasio-Cortez-Cortez said on Twitter. “Their leveraged buyouts have destroyed the lives of retail workers across the country, scrapping 1+ million jobs. Now they’re holding @taylorswift13’s own music hostage. They need to be reigned in.”

Amie Knowles reports for The Dogwood. You can reach her at [email protected]

  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.

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