January 26, 2022

Taylor Swift’s Label Common Media Group Provides Huge to Her Political Nemesis Marsha Blackburn

6 min read

Taylor Swift has been extraordinarily constant about this political opinion: She hates Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

That a lot was clear in 2018, when Taylor Swift issued her first political endorsement for Blackburn’s then-opponent for the Tennessee Senate seat, Democrat Phil Bredesen. And it was made much more express within the 2020 documentary Miss Americana, the place Swift might be seen seething over Blackburn.

“If I get unhealthy press for saying, ‘Don’t put a homophobic racist in workplace,’ then I get unhealthy press for that. I actually don’t care,” Swift advised her publicist in a single scene. “I believe it’s so frilly and spineless of me to face onstage and go ‘Comfortable Delight Month, you guys,’ after which not say this, when somebody’s actually coming for his or her neck.”

However apparently, the megastar’s personal file label and writer, Common Music Group, feels in a different way—so in a different way, in truth, that UMG’s political motion committee isn’t simply maxing out the allowable contribution to Blackburn; it’s exceeding the bounds.

On Sunday, federal regulators put UMG’s PAC on discover, flagging the group for giving Blackburn greater than the authorized restrict allowed in an election.

Greater than only a clerical error, nevertheless, the discover shines a lightweight on UMG’s long-running monetary assist for the Tennessee Republican, an arch-conservative that Swift has taken on as a private political adversary, blasting her as a “homophobic racist” and “Trump in a wig.”

“Her voting file in Congress appalls and terrifies me,” Swift wrote in an open letter in opposition to Blackburn’s 2018 Senate bid, hitting the then-congresswoman for voting in opposition to equal pay for girls and the reauthorization of the Violence In opposition to Ladies Act.

“She believes companies have a proper to refuse service to homosexual {couples}. She additionally believes they need to not have the suitable to marry,” Swift wrote within the letter.

“These usually are not MY Tennessee values,” she added, endorsing Blackburn’s opponent for her first public political act.

However UMG was on the opposite aspect of that struggle, bankrolling the Republican because it had for years. The label then signed Swift simply weeks after Blackburn received the election.

Federal filings present that UMG’s PAC has put cash into Blackburn’s campaigns practically yearly since 2005, shelling out a complete of greater than $32,000 in political assist. And Blackburn has to date raised $9,500 from the UMG PAC to place in direction of her 2024 bid, practically hitting its ceiling three years out from the election.

The Federal Election Fee flagged that the newest UMG donation put the PAC over the donation restrict for the 2024 main election cycle. And whereas the Blackburn marketing campaign seems to have already reallocated the funds to adjust to rules, the PAC has to date failed to take action in its stories.

Blackburn, a Nashville-area denizen who sits on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, boasts considered one of the most far-right voting records within the Senate. However Blackburn has burnished a status as a champion for the music trade, receiving monetary backing from commerce and lobbying teams such because the Recording Business Affiliation of America.

Her voice is so helpful to Music Metropolis moguls that in 2014, the pinnacle of the Nashville Songwriters Affiliation Worldwide advised the Tennessean that if the avowed right-winger, on the time a U.S. Consultant, have been to depart Congress, it will hit him like a dying within the household.

“I’d hold a black wreath on our workplace and shut it for every week,” he stated.

Nonetheless, UMG’s donations stand in sharp distinction to the PACs belonging to the 2 different main file labels—Sony and Warner—neither of which gave to Blackburn final 12 months, in accordance with FEC data.

Warner’s PAC has solely donated as soon as to Blackburn in recent times, in Might 2018; the Sony PAC seems to have by no means given her cash, in accordance with an evaluation of FEC filings.

Company PACs are sometimes employee-funded, however executives and lobbyists are inclined to make up a disproportionate quantity of these donations. The UMG PAC is not any completely different. And it has drawn vital funding from two executives particularly near Swift.

In an early 2020 press release saying her world publishing settlement with UMG—Swift, a vocal proponent of LGBTQ and girls’s rights—stated she was “proud” to proceed working with UMG head of publishing Jody Gerson, the “first girl to run a serious music publishing firm.”

“Jody is an advocate for girls’s empowerment and one of many most-respected and completed trade leaders,” Swift stated within the launch.

She additionally praised longtime collaborator Troy Tomlinson, one other UMG publishing exec, as a “passionate torchbearer for songwriters.”

Gerson and Tomlinson every gave hundreds of {dollars} to the PAC final 12 months, in recurring donations beginning in January, in accordance with federal data.

Swift, whose publicist declined to remark for this text, has made no secret of her disdain for Blackburn. Her choice in 2018 to interrupt her political silence and communicate out in opposition to the MAGA acolyte seems to have spurred a surge in voter registration, and was featured prominently in Miss Americana.

Nevertheless, the documentary didn’t spotlight that Swift was taking up one other main trade participant in Blackburn.

The senator reacted to the Miss Americana documentary by praising Swift’s “distinctive” musical items, in addition to her artist advocacy—an space the place the 2 ladies would seem to have widespread floor. Each have backed musicians’ rights, with Blackburn co-sponsoring main items of laws supported by artists, together with the Music Modernization Act, which in 2018 handed Congress unanimously and was signed into legislation by then-President Trump. (Swift nemesis Kanye West obtained in on the signing fanfare.)

The invoice made it simpler to gather digital royalties and was hailed as a serious step ahead by musicians, labels, and publishers alike.

Swift has famously fought these battles herself, leveraging her staggering recognition to problem trade kingpins immediately. After shedding the rights to the “grasp” recordings of her first six albums—earlier than she got here below Common—she launched into a undertaking to reclaim possession by re-recording them herself. On the similar time, nevertheless, UMG was revamping its contracts to limit their artists from profiting the identical approach.

However this July, Blackburn appeared to jab at Swift out of nowhere for “making an attempt to vary nation music” by making it “woke,” issuing an absurd warning {that a} “socialistic” authorities would make the 11-time Grammy winner its “first sufferer.”

“Taylor Swift got here after me in my 2018 marketing campaign,” she advised Breitbart on the time. “However Taylor Swift could be the primary sufferer of that as a result of once you take a look at Marxist, socialistic societies, they don’t enable ladies to decorate or sing or be onstage or to entertain or the sort [of] music she would have.”

Requested for remark concerning the donations, a UMG spokesperson supplied an announcement praising Blackburn’s work on behalf of the trade.

“Senator Blackburn represents an important music neighborhood and has an extended monitor file of advocating for points supportive of creators, together with her key management on the Music Modernization Act and her service as a Chair of the Congressional Songwriters Caucus. She has garnered broad assist from throughout the music neighborhood—together with from nearly each main music PAC. She has acquired assist from the UMG Worker Motion Fund since 2005,” the assertion learn.

“Nevertheless, none of that excuses, or ought to be seen as condoning in any approach, Senator Blackburn’s derisive feedback final summer season about Taylor Swift,” the spokesperson wrote.

Two months after Blackburn made these feedback, UMG reported its $5,000 donation.

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