Taylor Swift won Billboard’s Women of the Decade award at this year’s Women in Music event, and she sure as hell wasn’t going to accept it quietly.
Swift has been extremely vocal about her ongoing feud with Scooter Braun ever since his company bought the rights to her first six albums. But now, she’s calling out all of the parties involved in the sale of her music.
“This just happened to me without my approval, consultation, or consent,” Swift said in her acceptance speech “After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright, my entire catalog was sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in a deal that I’m told was funded by the Soros family, 23 Capital, and that Carlyle Group. Yet, to this day, none of these investors have bothered to contact me or my team directly—to perform their due diligence on their investment. On their investment in me. To ask how I might feel about the new owner of my art, the music I wrote, the videos I created, photos of me, my handwriting, my album designs.”
But, knowing she’d receive some serious backlash from the audience, she didn’t stop there. Swift used her voice and her platform to call out the toxic male privilege in the music industry.
“And of course, Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale or even when it was announced. I’m fairly certain he knew exactly how I would feel about it, though, and let me just say that the definition of toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying ‘but he’s always been nice to me’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists and their right to own their music. And of course he’s nice to you—if you’re in this room, you have something he needs.”
Taylor Swift also used her acceptance speech to spread love to other women in the music industry who have faced similar issues, like Lana Del Rey.
“I saw that as a female in this industry, some people will always have the slightest reservations about you.” Examples include questioning “whether a male producer or co-writer was the reason for your success, or whether it was a savvy record label [responsible for your success]. It wasn’t,” she said, discussing the industry throughout the last decade. “People want to explain away a woman’s success in this industry.”
“I’ve watched as one of my favourite artists of the decade, Lana Del Rey, was ruthlessly criticised early in her career, and then slowly but surely she turned into, in my opinion, the most influential artist in pop. Her vocal stylings, her lyrics, her aesthetics, they’ve been repurposed everywhere in music. And this year, her incredible album is nominated for album of the year at the Grammys.”
It’s easy to get distracted by all of the drama and controversy that has surrounded Taylor Swift in recent months, but it’s important to acknowledge her success.
She started out the decade as the youngest artist to win Album of the Year for her second album Fearless, and is ending it with 10 Grammys and 37.3 million albums sold. Love her or hate her, there’s no denying she’s made a tremendous impact on the music industry throughout the last decade.