Taylor Swift has raised the stakes considerably for Sony Music Entertainment’s contract battle with pop star Kesha. She’s given Kesha $250,000 to underwrite her legal battle on behalf of all female artists.
Kesha’s case has become an unexpected rallying cry for female music artists that has grown to include Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande and New Zealand singer Lorde.
IM reported Friday (Feb. 19) that a Supreme Court Judge in Manhattan had denied the “Tik Tok” singers request to get out of an eight-album deal with Sony because she claims her producer, Dr. Luke, emotionally and sexually abused her.
Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich ruled that Sony would suffer “irreparable harm,” if the contract was broken. Kesha owes the label six more albums, all of which she agreed to make through Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records.
Kornreich cited New York contract law, which typically favors corporations. Kornreich urged Kesha to accept a label offer to let her work with another producer.
Since then, a number of female artists have expressed their support for Kesha, real name Kesha Rose Sebert. But Swift upped the stakes dramatically in a move that’s being interpreted as show of solidarity for feminism.
She donated the money to help cover Kesha’s expenses “during this trying time,” according to a statement released by her spokesman.
Surprisingly, Lovato scolded Swift online for donating the money, but not speaking out publicly about the plight of women in music. That, in turn, produced a sharp reaction from Swift’s fans.
Lovato shot back in a series of Tweets.
“How the fuck am I making this about myself?. At least I’m talking about it. Not everyone has 250k to just give to people. Would love to but I didn’t grow up with money and def haven’t made as much as her. At least I speak up about shit that’s uncomfortable to talk about rather than trying to be politically correct 24/7.”
Later Lovato clarified her remarks even more.
“Didn’t shade Taylor. If you take it that way than fine. I’m just tired of seeing women use ‘women empowerment’ and ‘feminism’ to further brands without actually being the ones that have the uncomfortable conversations. I’m also ready for self-proclaimed feminists to start speaking out or taking action for women’s rights. Women empowerment is speaking up for other women even when it’s something uncomfortable to speak up about.”
So apparently feminism comes in varying shades of grey.
But the bigger question is how Sony intends to get back on top of the issue. Simply citing arcane contract law won’t be enough to quell the outrage generated by Kesha’s battle.
Of course, overlooked in this latest turn, is Dr. Luke’s heated denials that anything inappropriate took place.
IM was one of the first sites to report on the controversy two years ago. It started as a dispute over the creative direction of Kesha’s music.
She wanted Warrior, her second release, to be a rock album. Luke, however, reportedly insisted on dance and electro songs that propelled the success of her first album, Animal.
She hasn’t produced another album in three years.
Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM for the latest developments in the case.