Last night, Taylor Swift accepted Billboard’s Woman of the Decade award and had a lengthy 15 minute speech. Swift called out the institutionalized sexism she’s witnessed in the industry over the last decade, voiced her support for Lana Del Rey as the “most influential artist in pop” and called out the “unregulated world of private equity coming in and buying our music as if it’s real estate — as if it’s an app or a shoe line.”
[Text: Swift talks about Scooter Braun during speech]“This just happened to me without my approval, consultation, or consent. 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.”
“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.”
“The fact is that private equity enabled this man to think, according to his own social media post, that he could ‘buy me.’ But I’m obviously not going willingly. Yet the most amazing thing was to discover that it would be the women in our industry who would have my back and show me the most vocal support at one of the most difficult times, and I will never, ever forget it. Like, ever.”
In addition to naming names and calling for a discussion on private equity in the business, she urged everyone to keep advocating for female representation in recording studios, A&R departments and more.
Swift also showed her support for new artists such as Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo and Billie Eilish, who was honored with Billboard’s Woman of the Year.
You can watch Swift’s full speech above. Or not.