Taylor Swift is no stranger to controversy, and with the rise of her fame and success over the last few years she has become increasingly outspoken on matters she feels passionately about.

She pulled her music from the streaming platform Spotify in protest of the exploitation of new artists during free trials, has had an ongoing feud with the Kardashian-Wests, and more recently has been speaking up about issues with her management and label. Swift certainly has her critics, and has been notoriously accused of overdramatising situations, playing the victim, and creating false narratives – it’s these accusations that inspired her album Reputation, which was released in 2017.

Earlier this year, Scooter Braun, a record executive, and Big Machine Records, of which Scott Borchetta is founder and CEO, acquired the rights to all of Swift’s previous albums and the singer has made no secret of the fact that she’s unhappy about it. She accused Braun of incessant bullying and manipulative behaviour throughout her career, and claims Borchetta sold her work to Braun behind her back, even though he knew of her feelings towards him. Swift announced this summer her plans to re-record all her old music in 2020 so that she can own the rights to her own work.

Last week, Swift took to social media to alert fans to an issue she’d been having with Braun and Borchetta over not being allowed to play her old music at the American Music Awards (AMAs) this Sunday, and having an upcoming Netflix documentary about her career blocked unless she abandons her plans to re-record her back catalogue.


Big Machine Records have since released a statement denying the claims, and has even said that they do not have the right to prevent an artist from performing live anywhere. I was struck particularly by this line from their statement: Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist.”

In Matthew 21:23 – 27, we see the authority of Jesus questioned. In the passage, Jesus agrees to answer the chief priests’ and the elders’ query if they first answer His question about the baptism of John. They carefully calculate their answer to Jesus’ question and, instead of answering truthfully, decide to dodge it in order to protect themselves. 

Jesus does not entertain this response and does not continue to engage them on their initial question. Referring to this text, John Piper, founder and leader of desir​ing​God​.org, posits that their minds and their words simply function as a useful means of avoiding shame and harm and covering their self-centredness and cowardice. That’s the deepest root of relativism”.

Relativism is the idea that all views are relative to differences in perception and consideration. There is no universal objective truth according to relativism; rather each point of view has its own truth.

It’s all good and well claiming to have our own individual truths, but it just cannot be the case that all truths are relative – this is contradictory in and of itself. People are bored of relativist thinking and are disillusioned with sweeping statements and unfulfilled promises from our politicians. People hunger for truth and for integrity.

Eventually, all competing narratives do clash and are brought to a head. No one can say that both Swift and Big Machine Records are telling the truth, because their stories are in direct contradiction with one another. It’ll take a lot of digging through a messy tangle of interconnected truths and lies to get to the bottom of what’s going on there.

Jesus promises that, If you hold to my teaching, you really are my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31 – 32). 

Wherever you stand on this debate, the size of Swift’s fanbase has meant that ultimately her message cannot be ignored – and so she has been cleared to perform a medley of her old songs at this Sundays AMAs. She’s won this round (although there’s still no word on the Netflix documentary), so on this occasion Braun and Borchetta will just have to shake it off’.

Photo by Spencer Imbrock.