Taylor Swift has been very consistent on this political view: she hates Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee).
This was evident in 2018, when Taylor Swift issued her first political endorsement of Blackburn’s then opponent for the Tennessee Senate seat, Democrat Phil Bredesen. This was further clarified in the 2020 documentary miss americana, Swift can be seen boiling over Blackburn.
“If I get bad media for saying, ‘Don’t put an anti-gay racist in the position,’ then I get really bad pressure for it. Swift told her publicist in one scene.” Glad, you guys, “Then don’t say this, when someone comes for their neck.”
But the brand’s own record company and publisher, Universal Music Group, clearly feels differently — quite differently, in fact, that the UMG PAC not only increases the permissible contribution of Blackburn; It crosses the line.
On Sunday, federal regulators notified the UMG’s PAC, informing the group that Blackburn was awarded more than the legal limit allowed in the election.
More than a clerical error, however, the notice highlights UMG’s longstanding financial support for the Tennessee Republican, a major conservative who has taken Swift as a personal political opponent, calling her “an anti-gay racist” and “Trump in a wig.”
“Her record of voting in Congress horrifies and injures me,” Swift wrote in an open letter against Blackburn’s 2018 Senate request, and went to the then-Congresswoman for her vote against equal pay for women and the passage of the Violence Against Women Act.
“She believes that companies have the right to refuse service to same-sex couples. She also believes that they should not have the right to marry,” Swift wrote in her letter.
“This is not my Tennessee value,” she added, endorsing Blackburn opponent for her first public political act.
But UMG has been on the other side of that battle, funding the Republicans as it has for years. The label then fell to Swift just weeks after Blackburn won the election.
Federal filings show that UMG’s PAC has put money into Blackburn campaigns nearly every year since 2005, shelling out a total of more than $32,000 in political support. Blackburn has so far raised $9,500 from UMG PAC to put it in the 2024 bid, nearly hitting its ceiling three years after the election.
The Federal Election Commission noted that the UMG’s latest donation has put the PAC above the donation limit for the 2024 primary cycle. While it appears that the Blackburn campaign has already reallocated funds to comply with regulations, the PAC has so far failed to do so in its reports.
Blackburn, a Nashville-area resident and a member of the Senate Communications, Media and Broadband Subcommittee, boasts one of the Senate’s most right-wing voting records. But Blackburn honed her reputation as a champion of the music industry, receiving financial support from trade and pressure groups such as the Recording Industry Association of America.
Her voice is so valuable to Music City lords that in 2014, the president of the International Association of Songwriters in Nashville told to Tennessee that if he had been sworn in, at the time he had to leave Congress, it would strike him like a death in the family.
“I would hang a black wreath on our desk and shut it down for a week,” he said.
However, UMG’s donations stand in sharp contrast to PACs belonging to two other major record labels — Sony and Warner — neither of which were given to Blackburn last year, according to FEC data.
Warner’s PAC has donated only once to Blackburn in recent years, in May 2018; It appears that Sony PAC never gave her the money, according to an analysis of FEC filings.
Corporate PACs are often funded by employees, but executives and lobbyists tend to make up a disproportionate amount from those donations. UMG PAC is no different. It has secured significant funding from two executives who are particularly close to Swift.
In a press release in early 2020 announcing her global publishing agreement with UMG — Swift, a strong advocate for LGBT+ women’s rights — said she was “proud” to continue working with UMG Publishing president Jodi Gerson, “the first woman to run a specialty music publishing company.” “.
“Judy is an advocate for women’s empowerment and one of the industry’s most respected and accomplished leaders,” Swift said in the statement.
She also praised longtime collaborator Troy Tomlinson, another UMG publishing executive, as an “enthusiastic torchbearer for songwriters.”
Both Gerson and Tomlinson gave thousands of dollars to PAC last year, in recurring donations beginning in January, according to federal data.
Swift, whose publicist declined to comment for this article, has made no secret of her disdain for Blackburn. Her decision in 2018 to break her political silence and speak out against the MAGA aide appears to have spurred an increase in voter registration, and is featured prominently in Miss Americana.
However, the documentary did not highlight that Swift was facing another major player in the industry at Blackburn.
The senator’s reaction was to Miss Americana documentary by praising Swift’s “exceptional” musical gifts, as well as her support for artists – an area in which the two women seem to have common ground. Both supported the rights of musicians, with Blackburn co-sponsoring key legislation with artist support, including the Music Modernization Act, which Congress passed unanimously in 2018 and then signed into law by then-President Trump. (Swift opponent Kanye West got into the signature uproar.)
The bill made it easier to collect digital royalties and was hailed as a major step forward by musicians, production companies, and publishers alike.
Swift was best known for fighting these battles herself, leveraging her incredible popularity to directly challenge industry leaders. After losing the rights to the “master” recordings for her first six albums – prior to joining Universal – she embarked on a project to reclaim ownership by re-recording them herself. However, at the same time, UMG has been renewing its contracts to restrict artists’ profit in the same way.
But in July of this year, Blackburn appeared to attack Swift out of nowhere for “trying to change country music” by making her “wake up”, warning that the “socialist” government would make the 11-time Grammy winner its “number one victim”. “
“Taylor Swift came after me in my 2018 campaign,” she told Breitbart at the time. “But Taylor Swift would be the first victim of that because when you look at Marxist and socialist societies, they don’t allow women to dress or sing or be on stage or entertain or gender [of] The music she would have had.”
Asked to comment on the donations, a UMG spokesperson provided a statement praising Blackburn’s work on behalf of the industry.
“Senator Blackburn represents a vibrant music community with a proven track record of championing causes supporting creators, including her key leadership of the Music Modernization Act and her service as chair of the Congressional Songwriters Group. She has garnered broad support from across the music community—including nearly every PAC Music is a pioneer. It has received support from the UMG Staff Employment Fund since 2005.”
“None of these excuses, however, should be seen to condone in any way Senator Blackburn’s sarcastic comments last summer about Taylor Swift,” the spokesperson wrote.
Two months after Blackburn made those comments, UMG reported its donation of $5,000.