Sky Ferreira Comments On Music Industry Exploitation In Light Of Taylor Swift/Scooter Braun Feud

Scooter Braun acquired Taylor Swift’s back catalog, and everybody has something to say about it! To recap: Braun, the manager for pop stars including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Demi Lovato — and who briefly managed Swift’s longtime rival Kanye West — just purchased Big Machine Label Group for $300 million, giving him the rights to the masters for all of Swift’s music from her 2006 debut through 2017’s Reputation — this after Swift allegedly passed up the chance to own her masters in exchange for re-signing with Big Machine under terms she ultimately found unacceptable. Swift posted a scathing message about how “sad and grossed out” she was about all this, which inspired responses from Bieber, Lovato, Kacey Musgraves, Halsey, and others. And now Sky Ferreira has chimed in.

In a lengthy Instagram dispatch — the chosen forum for most of this discourse — Ferreira has elaborated on her experiences with exploitation in the music industry. Although Ferreira does not name names, the timing and subject matter strongly suggest Swift’s situation as the backdrop for her comments. Like Swift, Ferreira signed her first recording contracts as a teenager. Her message depicts a business where people will take advantage of you at every opportunity unless you take pains to protect yourself. “Don’t let anyone convince you that you aren’t supposed to own or control your own work or not get paid properly,” she writes near the end.

Here’s Ferreira’s full statement:

I signed contracts when I was 15 & I’m still paying the consequences for it. Every contract I ever signed was set up to take advantage of me/my work in some way. You have to protect yourself because nobody will do it for you even if it’s their job. You can’t leave anything vague EVER because they will use the loop hole to fuck you over…own you or not not pay you properly for your work, etc. BE CLEAR. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise, if they do it’s most likely for their convenience. Look out for yourself & your future. Do not let people pressure you into giving away your rights or settle for less when it comes to your future & work. Insisting on your rights, value & ownership doesn’t make you difficult. If people threaten to take something away from you because you question something or because you know what you want…consider it ALARMING.

Holding out & finding a situation where you can thrive/have control over your life is worth so much more. You have to think about the bigger picture. You shouldn’t have to settle for less. Just because this system has been the same for decades doesn’t mean it’s okay or you need to bow down to it. If anyone tells you otherwise, you have to ask yourself if the decision impacts their life in the way it will influence your life & future. The entertainment industry is filled with under qualified bullies & morons with way too much power for their own good. As an artist you have the ability to save yourself from these situations & the world will listen despite the gatekeepers. It’s something those people do not have…despite the influence they may have within etc.

I wish I never let people [make] me feel helpless in (repetitive) situations or believed they were doing their job at “protecting” my work (because if I do it on my own I won’t be allowed to work since nobody wants to deal with the artist directly or perceived as weakness) when they were stealing from me & severely damaging my career. I have been mentally abused countless times. Gaslighting is a go to tactic. Suffering isn’t currency for having the opportunity to do what you love for a living. The moment something becomes inconvenient, not a single soul will be in sight to actually fix it, especially when people have their own agendas & ego. You have to do it for yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be bled dry. Don’t let anyone convince you that you aren’t supposed to own or control your own work or not get paid properly. You don’t have to give the blind eye because others choose to. Respect yourself.

Ferreira released “Downhill Lullaby,” the first single from her long-delayed new album Masochism, earlier this year.