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Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Camila Cabello have all appealed to their millions of followers to take coronavirus more seriously, as other artists are criticised for continuing tours

Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande are among the pop stars using their considerable clout with fans to appeal for behavioural change during the coronavirus outbreak.

Eilish delivered a five-minute Instagram story to her 57 million followers, saying: Ive seen a lot of young people out in the world, all over the place, going to the club or going to the beach or just going out and hanging out, and its really irresponsible. She highlighted that young fans could pass it to more vulnerable relatives, and added: Please take responsibility for your endurance of this.

Swift spoke to her 128.2m Instagram followers to say: I love you guys so much and need to express my concern that things arent being taken seriously enough right now Im seeing lots of get-togethers and hangs and parties still happening. This is the time to cancel plans. Dont assume that because you dont feel sick that you arent possibly passing something on to someone elderly or vulnerable to this.

On Sunday, Grande wrote to her 72m Twitter followers: I keep hearing from a surprising amount of people statements like This isnt a big deal it is incredibly selfish and dangerous to take this situation that lightly. The We will be fine because were young mindset is putting people who arent young and/or healthy in a lot of danger. You sound stupid and privileged and you need to care more about others. Like now.

Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande)


March 15, 2020

US singer Camila Cabello said: Especially as young people, even if we are healthy, its important to practice compassion and help others that could be suffering. We are in this together, lets not be indifferent to others risk. She advised her 48m Instagram followers to practise meditation to help quell any anxiety.

Their appeals come as other music stars have been criticised for going ahead with concerts during the crisis. Welsh indie band Stereophonics played a series of arena concerts over the weekend, attracting tens of thousands of fans, and defended the decision by saying: The UK governments position was that at this phase there was no need for a ban on large public gatherings. Acting on this guidance, we continued with the last three shows of our UK tour on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as did many other events across the entertainment industry.

Music stars including Lewis Capaldi, pictured performing in London last week, have been criticised for going ahead with concerts. Photograph: Burak ng/Redferns

Scottish pop singer Lewis Capaldi used the same reasoning for playing an arena concert after Scotland announced the cancellation of large-scale events but before the ban came into force.

A spokesperson said of the Scottish governments advisory document: The advice applies from Monday March 16, and is not expected to have a significant impact on the spread of Covid-19, and this is not its purpose, but that it aims to relieve pressure on public services, including emergency services. Security, first aid, medical and welfare teams were paid for by the organisers as normal and the venue had additional signage in place to highlight best practice on hygiene during the event.

Tens of major tours have been cancelled, including those by Elton John, Foo Fighters and Celine Dion.

Stars are now looking to livestreaming as an alternative. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin took to Instagram Live yesterday to perform his bands songs as well as a cover of David Bowies Life on Mars. Maybe 9/11 was the last time I felt like we were all together, he said.

The performance was part of a new initiative from the World Health Organization and Global Citizen called Together, at Home. John Legend is the next performer lined up for the series.

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Theres always some standard of beauty that youre not meeting, she tells Miss Americana director Lana Wilson

Taylor Swift has disclosed her experiences with an eating disorder in a new documentary. In Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, which received its premiere at the Sundance film festival last night, Swift says that she would starve herself to the extent that she felt as if she might pass out during live performances.

The 30-year-old star said she would make a list of everything she ate, exercised constantly and shrank to a UK size two; she is now a size 10. I would have defended it to anybody who said Im concerned about you, she tells the films director, Lana Wilson.

I dont think you know youre doing that when youre doing it gradually. Theres always some standard of beauty that youre not meeting. Because if youre thin enough, then you dont have that ass that everybody wants, but if you have enough weight on you to have an ass, then your stomach isnt flat enough. Its all just fucking impossible.

Swift says in the film that she now fights the urge to be critical about her body because its better to think you look fat than to look sick and avoids looking at images of herself. I tend to get triggered by something, whether its a picture of me where I feel like my tummy looked too big, or someone said that I looked pregnant or something. And that will trigger me to just starve a little bit, just stop eating.

Swift expanded on her comments in an interview with Variety magazine: My relationship with food was exactly the same psychology that I applied to everything else in my life. If I was given a pat on the head, I registered that as good. If I was given a punishment, I registered that as bad.

She recalled receiving praise for fitting into sample sizes on photo shoots. And I looked at that as a pat on the head. You register that enough times, and you just start to accommodate everything towards praise and punishment, including your own body.

Swift told the magazine she had come to realise that if you eat food, you have energy, get stronger, you can do all these shows and not feel [enervated], and cited the body image activist and actor Jameela Jamil as an influence on her recovery. I swear the way she speaks is like lyrics, and it gets stuck in my head and it calms me down.

The trailer for Miss Americana video

It is the first time that Swift has talked candidly about her experiences with an eating disorder. In an essay for Elle magazine on the 30 things she learned before turning 30, published in March 2019, she said she had learned to stop hating every ounce of fat on my body.

She wrote: I worked hard to retrain my brain that a little extra weight means curves, shinier hair and more energy. I think a lot of us push the boundaries of dieting, but taking it too far can be really dangerous. There is no quick fix. I work on accepting my body every day.

Also in the documentary, Swift admits that she regrets not speaking out against Donald Trump during the 2016 election, and goes against her father Scott Swifts wishes by publishing a statement decrying the Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn during the 2018 midterm elections.

Visibly upset, Swift says: I cant see another commercial [with] her disguising these policies behind the words Tennessee Christian values. I live in Tennessee. I am Christian. Thats not what we stand for.

Her father responds: Ive read the entire [statement] and right now, Im terrified. Im the guy that went out and bought armoured cars. When her publicist, Tree Paine, warns Swift that Trump might come after her, she responds: Fuck that, I dont care.

The documentary details Swifts disentanglement from her lifelong wish to be seen as a good girl. She says: Ive been trained to be happy when you get a lot of praise Like, those pats on the head were all that I lived for. I was so fulfilled by approval that that was it. I became the person everyone wanted me to be.

She also discusses the impact of her mother Andrea Swifts cancer diagnosis on her values: Do you really care if the internet doesnt like you today if your mom is sick from chemo? Swift recently told Variety that her mother had been diagnosed with a brain tumour, which informed her decision to tour her 2019 album, Lover, at limited 2020 festival dates rather than embarking on a full stadium tour. I wanted to be able to work as much as I can handle right now, with everything thats going on at home.

Wilson described her film as a feminist coming-of-age story that I personally connected with, and that I really think women and girls around the world will see themselves in.

Taylor Swift: Miss Americana is streaming on Netflix from 31 January.

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The singer emerges as charming and undeniably talented in this Netflix documentary but its too slick for genuine insight

Its safe to say that by the end of Miss Americana, a quickie documentary on the recent trials and tribulations of Taylor Swift opening this years Sundance film festival, few positions will have truly shifted. Those who already idolised the award-winning musician will continue to do so, as will the non-fans who might still begrudgingly admire her undeniable talent. And those who have questioned her knack for playing the victim as well as her lack of self-awareness will also find their minds similarly unchanged. Here is a character study authored by the character whos being studied, a carefully controlled continuation of a story we have been following now for years. Its brand management dressed up as insight and while its not not entertaining, its certainly far from particularly revealing, playing more like a PR exercise than a festival-worthy feature.

At the start of the film, as Swift sifts through old journals, she explains that she always needed to be thought of as good, and its a desire that permeates the film with every possible punch being pulled by director Lana Wilson, whose films have previously focused on hard-hitting topics such as suicide and late-term abortion. Its not that Swift is in need of a dressing down far from it but there are glaring questions left unanswered, avenues left unexplored and a wider perspective sorely missing from her retelling of events.

Wilson has unprecedented access to Swift, the kind of intimacy journalists have been craving for years from an artist who has kept herself understandably at arms length at specific times of her life. The film follows her throughout her two most recent albums, both spurred by very different motivations, and in what feels like a scattered and confusing timeline we hop back and forth to earlier glimpses of the career that got her to where she now stands, as one of the most famous women in the world. But while Wilson is the credited director, its Swift whos in charge, a masterly musical storyteller transporting that gift to the screen, recounting her life and revealing her personality on her terms. Its a celebrity profile thats been sent to the celebrity for approval first.

What the film does show, in some of its most charming moments, is Swifts astonishing talent for music, exemplified in a handful of magnetic studio interludes as we see her create some of her most recent hits. Its a pleasure to watch her in these scenes, cannily crafting lyrics alongside Jack Antonoff and Max Martin, excitedly working with a tangible enthusiasm. Its where she truly shines in the film, as events outside the studio often lack depth and objectivity, something that would elevate as well as ground the stars image. Were shown that Swifts lowest point was being interrupted on stage at the VMAs by Kanye West (It was a catalyst for a lot, she says), and while his behaviour remains unacceptable, theres no realisation from her about the reasons that led him there, the ongoing lack of diversity shown by awards bodies and the effect this has had on artists of colour. When Swift talks about the pressure she has always felt as a woman who needed to be seen as nice and compliant, an explanation for her late-stage embrace of politics, were never given insight into how she was raised and how her parents played a part in the often regressive view of femininity she has learned to push back against. When Swift briefly mentions her mothers cancer or her fathers fears for her safety, we never get to hear from either of them, or much from Swift herself.

Whenever the documentary threatens to lead us to a place thats challenging or dark or knotty, such as Swifts discussion of a previously unrevealed eating disorder, Wilson pulls back. Swift is never challenged by Wilson or by anyone around her. Its almost exclusively a string of scenes where people agree with her, no matter the subject.

Photograph: Netflix

The last act pushes Swift as an activist of some stature and while well-intentioned, the congratulatory nature of the films view is again lacking in context. Like most of the film it feels like self-mythologising, and while Swift emerges as charming, funny, talented and smart, theres a grit missing that would have humanised her further. After the premiere Swift spoke about the hours of interview footage the pair recorded and one wonders what was left on the cutting-room floor because this is too slickly selective to feel like a genuine portrait of a woman with fascinating stories to tell.

Its hard to critique Miss Americana as a real film and as one that would even be showing at Sundance in the first place, a festival aimed at shining a light on diverse and challenging voices. Its hard to see it as an independent piece of work from a documentarian and not a talent-approved Netflix featurette. Fans will surely embrace it, and Swifts brand of feminism and liberalism will definitely be of value to a younger audience, but she remains an enigmatic construct. Like so many documentaries and biopics that have been either produced or authorised by the star at the centre, were being shown exactly what they want us to see and theres something uneasy about what that represents. Swift will remain a deservedly successful singer with a rare talent but we may never get to know her as anything more than that.

  • Miss Americana is showing at the Sundance film festival and will be available on Netflix from 31 January

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Billie Eilish and Lizzo are competing for a string of the top prizes, but could the likes of Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey and Rosala cause upsets?

Noise threatens to drown out the music at the 2020 Grammy awards. A line had been drawn under the tone-deaf leadership of Neil Portnow, who had presided over the ceremony since 2002 between 2013 and 2018, Grammy winners were 91% male, but, after a 2018 ceremony where men swept the board again, Portnow said it was on women to step up and create opportunities for themselves.

A woman, Deborah Dugan, replaced him; a taskforce was appointed, and in December they published their report, calling for greater diversity in the Academy voters. Any hopes that they had moved on, though, were scotched last week by Dugan being suspended for alleged misconduct; Dugan countered by saying she had been sexually harassed, that the Academy had covered up an alleged rape by Portnow, and that the voting was corrupt.

So we go into this years ceremony more jaded than ever, but the irony is that, no matter how poisonous the Academy is and regardless of whether it is rigged or not, we ended up with a much more diverse range of nominees this year. Leading the pack are Lizzo with eight noms and Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X with six each a vibrantly youthful and non-conformist trio. But will the Academy members shake off the past and vote for the future?

Record of the year

Bon Iver Hey, Ma
Billie Eilish Bad Guy
Ariana Grande 7 Rings
HER Hard Place
Khalid Talk
Lil Nas X ft Billy Ray Cyrus Old Town Road
Lizzo Truth Hurts
Post Malone & Swae Lee Sunflower

Aside from the merely pleasant HER and Khalid tracks, this is a strong field. While lots of eyes are on Lizzo and Eilish, this could perhaps be Ariana Grandes year. Its her first time with nominations in the big four categories rather than being patronised in the pop awards and, with its My Favourite Things melody, doddering Academy voters might listen to 7 Rings and say: Hey, its one I know! Triumphant earworm Old Town Road is the longest-running No 1 in US history; Bad Guy is a showcase of the kind of fiendish genius usually employed by Hollywood horror movies to construct elaborate ways for teenagers to get killed. But an Academy eager to telegraph its modernity might go for Lizzo: Truth Hurts is a great underdog story, reaching No 1 two years after release, and her charisma is near universally infectious.

Will win: Lizzo Truth Hurts
Should win: Billie Eilish Bad Guy

Album of the year

Bon Iver i, i
Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Billie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Ariana Grande Thank U, Next
HER I Used to Know Her
Lil Nas X 7
Lizzo Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)
Vampire Weekend Father of the Bride

This is Grandes best chance of a big win. Thank U, Next is a superbly realised almost-concept album about heartache, grief and moving on that can be witty, even caustic, but never cruel it sealed her as one of the three or four definitive pop stars of our time. Lizzo, HER and Lil Nas X are hampered with too much 6/10 material across their albums; Lana Del Rey was the critical hit of the year and will certainly beat out fellow Pitchfork darlings Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend, but may not cut through to the more august and mainstream Academy members. Eilish was the inescapable pop-cultural breakthrough of the year, and her album has such terrific range and invention. She will, hopefully, squeak this.

Will win: Billie Eilish
Should win: Billie Eilish

Song of the year

Lady Gaga Always Remember Us This Way
Billie Eilish Bad Guy
Tanya Tucker Bring My Flowers Now
HER Hard Place
Taylor Swift Lover
Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell
Lewis Capaldi Someone You Loved
Lizzo Truth Hurts

Piano-driven ballads dominate the songwriting category, including Taylor Swifts only big nomination. Lover is such classic American songcraft, though Lewis Capaldis powerful Someone Like You is the best of these ballads and it would be a British win to remember. Eilish is streets ahead in terms of songwriting innovation and should win for that Duh! alone. But, while Truth Hurts most famous lyric (I just took a DNA test, turns out Im 100% that bitch) may have been plagiarised and its British author later added to the credits, Lizzo has this sewn up. The lyrics are hilarious, and it is a massively successful example of that new school of songwriting where a single melody is repeated over and over until the brainwashed public is involuntarily chanting it and then clawing hopelessly at their faces.

Will win: Lizzo Truth Hurts
Should win: Billie Eilish Bad Guy

New artist

Black Pumas
Billie Eilish
Lil Nas X
Maggie Rogers
Tank and the Bangas

Nice to see some country-soul curveballs here in the excellent Black Pumas and Yola, though the less said the better about the tune-free Tank and the Bangas at any rate, theyre all making up the numbers. Maggie Rogers didnt really break beyond her fanbase with her underrated debut album, and Im sure the Academy will see Lil Nas X merely as a two-hit wonder. Lizzos debut album came out in 2013, whereas Eilish has only just turned 18 and feels like the rightful owner of this award. But you can bet than every Latinx voter is going to be going for the astoundingly talented Rosala, who won big at the Latin Grammys and could cause an upset here.

Will win: Billie Eilish
Should win: Billie Eilish

Pop solo performance

Beyonc Spirit
Billie Eilish Bad Guy
Ariana Grande 7 Rings
Lizzo Truth Hurts
Taylor Swift You Need to Calm Down

Just as performances where you cry, shout and climb inside the carcass of a bear win you Oscars, the leading pop award rather behoves you to give it some welly not for nothing has Adele won it three times. Eilish and Grandes variously murmured and chatted performances will appear to the Academy like weirdo arthouse choices here, and even Swift is in a relatively conversational mode. Beyoncs ponderous Spirit was the lame old wildebeest eaten by the younger jackals on the Lion King soundtrack, so this is Lizzos to lose.

Will win: Lizzo
Should win: Billie Eilish

Rock performance

Bones UK Pretty Waste
Gary Clark Jr This Land
Brittany Howard History Repeats
Karen O & Danger Mouse Woman
Rival Sons Too Bad

Anyone looking for evidence of backroom dealing in the Academy might well make Bones UK their exhibit A: Pretty Waste is the kind of creative vacuum beloved only of nihilistically cocaine-addicted LA music industry execs looking for something to soundtrack rock bottom. The rest is pretty good. Rival Sons riffs and hollering make them the most tangibly rock thing here Karen O essays 60s pop, and Brittany Howards History Repeats is a kind of bluesy funk tune, but with mainstream rock stranded out on a sandbar while rappers and pop stars taunt it on jetskis, they need to blur the genre lines. Gary Clark Jr could edge this with his politically charged This Land, half-rapped over a heavily skanking backing.

Will win: Gary Clark Jr
Should win: Rival Sons

Rap performance

J Cole Middle Child
DaBaby Suge
Dreamville feat JID, Bas, J Cole, Earthgang & Young Nudy Down Bad
Nipsey Hussle feat Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy Racks in the Middle
Offset feat Cardi B Clout

Many voters hearts will go with Nipsey Hussle, whose murder last year robbed the world of a skilful, soulful MC who united backpacker hip-hoppers and mainstream rap fans. Racks in the Middle also features Roddy Rich, who has broken through spectacularly over the last year. But the track pales next to two others here: DaBabys Suge is a slowly prowling piece of minimalism that makes Offset sound fussily overworked in comparison; its ridiculous that DaBaby isnt up for best new artist. He is rather damaged goods after a series of run-ins with the law, however. That could hand Middle Child the win, on which J Cole raps as if hes high-stepping across the surface of a lake, his triplet time full of balletic grace.

Will win: J Cole
Should win: DaBaby

Country solo performance

Tyler Childers All Yourn
Ashley McBryde Girl Goin Nowhere
Willie Nelson Ride Me Back Home
Blake Shelton Gods Country
Tanya Tucker Bring My Flowers Now

If you scoff at country, youll probably always scoff at country, but this spread of songs shows off the admirable breadth of the genre and may pique your interest yet. Willie Nelsons song is a bit something-and-nothing; Tanya Tuckers Bring My Flowers Now is nominated in the song of the year category, and its live-for-today message and simple piano backing will appeal across the Academy, but its rather workmanlike. Ashley McBryde outdoes her in the ballad stakes, but its Tyler Childers and Blake Shelton both strongly channelling the gospel and soul music that not so secretly underpins country who are the strongest here. Childers song would make for a classy first wedding dance, while Sheltons stirring ode to proud Christian labour, while deeply unfashionable, will have you gazing soulfully across a cornfield.

Will win: Tanya Tucker
Should win: Tyler Childers

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Tom Hooper finished off his musical just 36 hours before its premiere. Will this, a turn-off trailer, awards snubs and an impurrfect gestation stop it being Christmas catnip?

For film critics, London press screening schedules are devised like a military operation: timetabled, negotiated and cross-referenced by an army of distributors and publicists, with a view generally to keeping each major studio offering out of the others way. The pre-Christmas crush is when the efficiency of the system tends to be most tested, but rarely has there been a scheduling overlap as high-profile and high-stakes as the one we saw on Monday night as the large multimedia premieres of Cats and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker played back-to-back in Leicester Square, a long, loud double feature that sent bleary-eyed journalists home somewhere close to midnight.

It wasnt always meant to be this way. The latest Star Wars episode had long had that premiere date nailed down: suitably close to its public release to appease studio spoilerphobia, and an acknowledgement that any franchise this critic-proof doesnt need long-lead reviews. Cats gatecrashing this weeks schedule, however, was a frenzied move for a project that despite years of gestation and development, not to mention a gargantuan budget is looking increasingly like one of the most last-minute, down-to-the-wire blockbusters in Hollywood history.

Tom Hoopers much hyped, fluorescent film version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage smash began shooting last December, wrapped at the beginning of April, and has been mired in allegedly complex post-production ever since. Allegedly seems an unnecessary qualifier, in fact, given what the trailer already revealed as early as July. Coating a vast ensemble of human stars and dancers in fluid, tactile feline pelts was never going to be a simple task: digital fur technology, as weve been instructed to call it, wasnt built in a day. And it hasnt just been the visuals consuming time: word has it that multiple Soho sound studios were booked out last week in a concentrated push to finish the films busy audio mix.

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Watch the Cats movie trailer – video

The delay has, it seems, come at some cost to the films awards season momentum. Most critics groups didnt get to see the film in time for their voting deadlines, though even in the best of circumstances, their tastes tend to skew more highbrow. More imperative was meeting the cutoff for Golden Globes voting. A not-quite-finished cut was shown to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, known for supporting razzle-dazzle musicals such as The Greatest Showman and Burlesque, but with dispiriting results: the effort yielded only one nomination, for Taylor Swifts original song Beautiful Ghosts. Even that seemingly surefire Oscars bid was shot down this week, as the Academy announced their shortlists for several categories: Swifts mournful ballad was nowhere to be seen among the 15 best song finalists, though the visual effects are still in contention.

That those effects may be the films best remaining shot at awards glory is somewhat ironic, considering what a point of contention theyve been. The images we saw back in the summer to a global chorus of what-the-hell-is-that horror and delight that made an instant and inexhaustible meme factory out of a two-minute trailer were, apparently, not quite finished.

The internets gleefully aghast reaction didnt prompt the kind of studio panic, rethink and redesign that we recently saw with Sonic the Hedgehog, but Hooper claims that some tweaking was done in response: The visual effects [in the trailer] were at quite an early stage, he told Empire magazine. Possibly there were, in the extremity in some of the responses, some clues in how to keep evolving. When you watch the finished film, youll see that some of the designs of the cats have moved on since then, and certainly our understanding of how to use the technology to make them work has gone up, too.

Jennifer Hudson in Cats. Photograph: Allstar/Working Title films/Amblin Entertainment

If this is true, it may take eagle-eyed effects buffs to spot the exact evolution: a second trailer, released in November, didnt look appreciably different from the first, though the shock impact of the human-cat hybrids appearance was reduced with forewarning. (Ready or not from a technical perspective, Universal was wise to tease the films look early and get us accustomed to its eccentricity.) And while the finished product is still under critical embargo for now, its not incriminating to say that it delivers very much the spectacle that those fixated on the trailer are expecting: the technicians many hours of painstaking work are nothing if not evident.

Hooper is known in the industry for being exacting, but if hes been flustered by the films scramble to the finish line, hes remained impassively cool in public admitting casually on Mondays New York premiere that hed only locked the final cut at 8am the day before. He continues, moreover, to walk a fine line between deflecting the internets bewilderment and humouring it. In response to a Variety reporter asking whether he was happy with Cats finished look not a question most directors would expect to be asked on the promotion trail, but a near-unavoidably salient one in this case his answer was an expert PR play: having only officially finished the film 36 hours before, he was simply glad to be showing it at all. Im very happy to be here with it fully finished, and yeah, well let the audience decide, but its come a long way since that first trailer.

Its being left to the actors, it seems, to take a more defensive approach. I thought that reaction [to the trailer] was absolutely ludicrous, Ian McKellen fumed in an interview this week, going on to declare the finished film an absolute classic. I can tell those doubters whove only seen snippets of a trailer that theyre absolutely wrong, and if they dont agree with me, then keep away. Hoopers more measured let the audience decide line is harder to argue with. Never a film made for critics, and with its awards-season hopes looking ever leaner, Cats will be counting on a vast, breathless public one both uninformed of and uninterested in its production and scheduling complications to make those sleepless nights worthwhile.

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Swift is the first female headline performer since Adele in 2016 and the sixth solo female headliner in the festivals 50-year history

Taylor Swift will close the 2020 Glastonbury festival with a headline performance on the Pyramid stage on Sunday night.

Im ecstatic to tell you that Ill be headlining Glastonbury on its 50th anniversary See you there!

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The singers dispute with the new owner of Big Machine Records over her first six albums challenges who owns what in the industry

Taylor Swifts catalogue is littered with tales of the men who did her wrong. Teardrops on My Guitar, All Too Well, Dear John the 29-year-old singer is used to being let down by the patriarchy. Somehow she always manages to shake it off. This time was no different.

On Sunday, Swift will receive the artist of the decade award at the American Music awards (AMAs) at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. For a few days it seemed like she would not be able to play her older hits, caught in a contractual dispute with her former record label.

It was the kind of argument usually resolved behind closed doors by sober-suited lawyers boringly parsing contract and copyright law. Instead, #IStandWithTaylor became a trending topic on Twitter worldwide and Swift once again proved corporate America is no match for her talents. She may also, and not for the first time, have reshaped the music world challenging who owns what in an industry still reeling from its transition to digital.

This is stuff that never leaks out to the public, said James Sammataro, a partner at law firm Pryor Cashman and one of the USs top music lawyers. Contentious negotiations are nothing new in the music industry, he said. But this is like negotiation in the Instagram age. Taylor is directing it. She is forcing this chess game to be played in public.

The chess game involves control of Swifts first six albums, put out by Big Machine Records, an independent Nashville-based music company that is home to artists including Sheryl Crow, Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts. Big Machines founder, Scott Borchetta, signed Swift when she was just 15 after discovering her performing in a cafe and helped guide her from country newcomer to global pop phenomenon. Swift has said she thought Borchetta regarded her as the daughter he never had.

Then, in 2019, Borchetta sold Big Machine for a reported $300m to Ithaca Holdings, a mini-conglomerate of media and tech companies owned by celebrity talent manager Scooter Braun, a man Swift considers a mortal enemy. Braun, who currently works with Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, among numerous other entertainers, previously worked with Kanye West, whose infamous hijacking of her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music awards has led to a decade-long feud.

Swift has accused Braun of bullying her and called the deal my worst case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term loyalty is clearly just a contractual concept. And when that man says Music has value, he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it, she wrote on Tumblr. Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words Scooter Braun escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to.

As is standard practice in the music industry Swifts masters the first recordings from which all the later copies are made stayed with Big Machine and are the main driver behind the deal. According to Variety, Swifts catalogue accounted for 80% of Big Machines revenues, although it is now believed to be closer to 50%.

Swift controls the copyright, which should mean she is free to perform her songs as she pleases. Which brings us to the latest dilemma. Swift who is now signed to Universal Music has said she will re-record her old albums starting next year, offering fans a way to buy her music again on her terms after her deal with Big Machine expires.

According to Swift, Borchetta and Braun had told her she could not perform the works they currently own at the AMAs unless she dropped that plan. On top of that, Swift said the pair had told her she would not be allowed to use her old work in an upcoming Netflix documentary.

Scott Borchetta told my team that theyll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree not to re-record copycat versions of my songs next year (which is something Im legally allowed to do and looking forward to) and also told me that I need to stop talking about him and Scooter Braun, Swift wrote on social media. The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or youll be punished.

Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13)

Dont know what else to do

November 14, 2019

All this and more was shared with Swifts 85 million-plus Twitter followers and made headlines around the world. Swift even called on Carlyle Group, one the worlds biggest and most powerful private equity firms and a minority investor in Ithaca, to help her out. Not the sort of public row this highly political firm, advised by former presidents and prime ministers, is used to.

Weighed down by the torrent of publicity and death threats, Braun and Borchetta denied gagging Swift and stated she was free to perform at the AMAs. Their initial statement, however, carefully skirted around admitting, or denying, whether they had stipulated she could not perform her old songs or mentioning the Netflix documentary. Big Machine and Ithaca did not return calls for comment.

Bad blood: Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift. Photograph: Getty Images

For Sammataro, the AMA kerfuffle was a sideshow and legally Swift would have had a good case for playing her songs. The argument hides a bigger story, he said, one that may have a profound impact on artists in the years ahead. People bluster and make demands for rights that they dont always have, he said. I do think they have a very genuine concern about the re-recording of her masters.

Historically music companies have restricted artists for a length of time typically five years from re-recording their works. It sounds sinister but its really not. Its a commonsense provision in that if I am investing money into your album, I need sufficient time to recoup my investment, said Sammataro.

Swift is not the first to threaten to re-record her works. Prince and Def Leppard did so after arguing they were being unfairly compensated by their original labels. But it is unheard of move for an artists at her zenith. You are essentially splitting dollars, said Sammataro. You dont know how the streaming service, the radio station or even your fans are going to consume it. Will they listen to the master or the re-recorded version?

In the past artists might not have taken this route because marketing and distributing the new versions themselves would have been prohibitively expensive. In the digital age, and with her fanbase, no such issues will hold Swift back. Re-recording a couple of hits might once have satisfied Swift but with relations so strained she may feel like dealing Big Machine a bigger blow.

It is not the first time that Swift has taken on the industry and won. Swift was one of the last artists to sign on to streaming services because she was still selling CDs. She forced Apple to pay artists for music played during users three-month free trial period and held her album Reputation off streaming services for three weeks to maximise physical sales and downloads. The Economist wondered whether she might be pop musics Alexander the Great.

For Swift this latest dispute is clearly an issue of principle, but it is also a play for leverage as both sides wrestle with the tectonic shifts in the music market: the shift to digital and the arrival of ever more money in the music industry from private equity investors such as Carlyle.

Carlyle and groups like it are investing in music because they see long-term returns from owning catalogues like Swifts and more widely from our continuing love of music. TPG Capital is an investor in Spotify, Blackstone owns Sesac Holdings and the Harry Fox Agency, two groups that disburse royalties. Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala has a stake in EMI Music. Swifts tweet specifically asked for help from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of my music to these two men. Following the message the companys Twitter account and phone lines were inundated by Swift fans pressing them to intervene.

The shot across Carlyles bow will add pressure to negotiations if and when the two sides start discussing the Netflix deal and Swifts re-recordings. Longer-term the idea that artists like Swift will seize control of their works may rattle those investors even more. Sammataro said he expected the masters contracts of major artists once pretty boilerplate will now be much more carefully lawyered.

Swift may have won this round but there will be more battles ahead. On Sunday she is expected to address the controversy head on. Swift is planning a fierce show of female artistic strength and empowerment, music industry sources told the New York Post.

Her friends are all going to be pushing her message on the red carpet. Taylors going to play dirty with elegance and grace, the source said. Whatever she plays, she will be playing to win.

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Swift won six American Music Awards, taking her all-time total to 29 and breaking Michael Jacksons record

Taylor Swift reflected on a year of highs and lows as she was named both artist of the year and artist of the decade at the American Music Awards.

The pop superstar won six awards at this years AMAs, taking her all-time total to 29, organisers said, surpassing Michael Jacksons record of 24.

The artist of the decade honour was announced well before Sunday nights ceremony, but Swift also scooped the biggest prize of the night, artist of the year, from Drake, Ariana Grande, Halsey and Post Malone.

Accepting the award for the latter, an emotional Swift told the crowd gathered at Los Angeles Microsoft Theater that the previous 12 months had given her some of the most amazing times as well as the hardest things Ive gone through in my life.

Swift, 29, has been embroiled in a high-profile feud with prominent talent manager Scooter Braun and her former record label over the rights to her back catalogue of six albums a dispute that briefly put her performance at the AMAs under a cloud.

Swift publicly accused Braun last week of refusing permission for her to sing songs from her back catalogue at the awards show, urging her 122 million Instagram fans to let Braun know how you feel about this.

The public spat culminated last week with Braun saying that his family had received numerous death threats and that he would like to find a resolution.

Swift did not directly reference her dispute with Braun on Sunday night, but she did say that this industry is really weird before thanking her fans, adding: This year for me has been a lot. Its been a lot of good, its been a lot of really complicated.

Before she accepted the prize for artist of the year, Swift followed a video retrospective of her career to date with the performance of a medley of some of her biggest hits, opening with a brief portion of her song The Man, which debates how much more successful she would be if she were a male.

She performed in a white button-down jacket featuring the titles of her earlier albums, including Speak Now, Red and Fearless, and on a piano that was also inscribed with the titles of these albums, which some fans interpreted as a coded message about the feud with Braun.

During her acceptance speech, Swift said the honour celebrated 10 years of hard work and of art and of fun and memories.

She added: All that matters to me is the memories I have had with you guys, with you the fans, over the years.

Earlier, Swift won favourite pop/rock album for her latest album Lover. Her wins make her the most successful AMAs artist ever, dethroning Michael Jackson.

Elsewhere, teenager Billie Eilish continued her year to remember by scooping best new artist. The 17-year-old appeared emotional as she thanked fans for the award, her second of the night, after her win for alternative rock artist.

Eilish showed her support for environmental causes by wearing a T-shirt with the slogan No Music on a Dead Planet as she gave her first awards show performance with All the Good Girls Go to Hell.

Selena Gomez kicked off the ceremony in her first live TV performance in two years, after undergoing a kidney transplant in 2017 and battling anxiety and depression.

Rapper Post Malone, whose seven nominations were the most of any artist this year, won favourite rap/hip-hop album for Hollywoods Bleeding.

Pop star Halsey won the prize for favourite pop/rock song for her hit Without Me, and Carrie Underwood won favourite country artist and country album of the year.

The ceremony included performances from singer Toni Braxton, 25 years after winning her first AMA, who belted out her 1996 pop ballad, Un-Break My Heart. Meanwhile new artist of the year nominee Lizzo treated fans to her single, Jerome.

Country music star Thomas Rhett and celebrity couple Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes were also among the performers.

Ozzy Osbourne, who spent much of 2019 recovering from injuries he suffered in a fall at home, returned to the stage to perform Take What You Want alongside Malone and Travis Scott.

Canadian singer-songwriter Shania Twain closed the night with a medley of songs mashing up the biggest hits of the last 12 months with some of her own best-known tracks, including 1998s That Dont Impress Me Much.

Before the show officially kicked off, Dan + Shay were named favourite duo or group in the country category, while K-pop favourites BTS won in the pop/rock category.

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Swift and two other songwriters are accused of taking lyrics from a song by girl group 3LW for her hit Shake It Off

A copyright lawsuit against Taylor Swift is returning to court in the US, after an appeal overturned an earlier dismissal of the case.

Swift and her fellow songwriters Max Martin and Shellback are accused of copying lyrics from the 2001 song Players Gon Play by US girl group 3LW, for Swifts song Shake It Off.

Both songs feature the lyrics the players gonna play and the haters gonna hate. In February 2018, a federal judge said the 3LW songwriters who brought the claim, Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, did not have creative ownership over the phrases, which were deemed to be commonplace. By 2001, American popular culture was heavily steeped in the concepts of players, haters, and player haters, judge Michael Fitzgerald wrote. The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal.

But the successful appeal found that Fitzgerald should not have had the sole final judgment on the originality of the song. The decision will now be made by a jury.

Plagiarism claims have been made against numerous high-profile songs recently, with the latest case in the US being Truth Hurts, a song by singer and rapper Lizzo that spent seven weeks at No 1. Brothers Justin and Jeremy Raisen allege that they co-wrote the song and filed a lawsuit against Lizzo; she has countersued, saying the men did not help me write any part of the song. She did add British singer Mina Lionness to the songwriting credits, acknowledging that a viral tweet Lionness wrote was used for the songs opening line.

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Singer has written the lyrics to new song Beautiful Ghosts for the film, theatrical legend is quoted as saying

Diehard fans of Andrew Lloyd Webbers musical Cats may be in for a shock with reports that the musical theatre maestro has teamed up to write a new song for the forthcoming film adaptation with Taylor Swift.

Swifts involvement in the much-discussed live-action musical has already been a point of note: she will make a furry appearance in the film as the character of Bombalurina. But her involvement has apparently gone further, with Lloyd Webber telling the Daily Mail that she had written the lyrics to a new song, called Beautiful Ghosts, for the film.

The song will feature in a performance by ballet dancer Francesca Hayward, who plays the feline character of Victoria, a role that has been expanded from the stage version to make it more central to the plot.

Lloyd Webber told the newspaper the song would also be sung briefly by Dame Judy Dench, who plays Old Deuteronomy. It was reportedly written over a year ago.

Swift will also perform her own version of the song over the end credits. The new song means the film becomes eligible for best song categories in prestigious annual film awards such as the Academy awards. Swift has never won an Oscar, although Lloyd Webber has in 1997, with Tim Rice, for a song from Evita.

Lloyd Webber penned the score for the original stage musical, based on TS Eliots Old Possums Book of Practical Cats, in 1977 and it was first performed on stage in 1981. The wafer-thin plot tells the story of the Jellicles, a colony of cats, over the night of their annual Jellicle ball.

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Watch the Cats movie trailer – video

The forthcoming film adaptation is directed by Tom Hooper, who was behind the 2012 live-action version of Les Misrables. Its ensemble cast contains some of the biggest names in film and television, including Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Jason Derulo, and Sir Ian McKellen.

The trailer for the film sent jaws dropping when it debuted in July, depicting as it did not actual cats, but humans apparently transmogrified into dancing and singing, oddly sized furry human-cat hybrids.

Some viewers called the trailer cursed, nightmarish, and resembling a demented dream ballet.

Cats opens in cinemas in the UK, US and Australia in December.

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