Taylor Swift Donated $250,000 To Kesha
A New York Supreme Court Justice, Shirley Kornreich, decided on Friday that Kesha’s lawsuit against her producer, Dr. Luke, was invalid – but that hasn’t stopped Taylor Swift from supporting the pop artist. TSwift’s confirmed that she donated $250,000 to Kesha, “to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time.”
Kesha accused Dr. Luke of “sexual and drug related” assault, and filed the lawsuit to try to dissolve her contract with his record label, Kemosabe, which is owned by Sony. Kornreich decided in Dr. Luke’s and Sony’s favor because Sony had offered Kesha to record music without Luke present – but Kesha and her legal team were skeptical that Sony would bother to adequately promote and distribute her music, meaning that she was stuck either recording music with her abuser, or having her career fizzle out. It’s important to note, by the way, that Kornreich didn’t decide that Kesha’s claims of abuse were untrue — she just decided that Kesha was obligated to stay in her contract with Sony regardless of whether those claims were true or not.
There is another option, of course, which is to stop recording with Sony altogether. However, were she to break her contract, Sony would own her name, the rights to images of her, and the rights to all of the music she’s recorded so far – unless she somehow procures the funding to buy her rights; plus, Kesha wouldn’t have the resources of one of a gigantic corporate record label to promote and distribute her music, fund tours, sell merchandise, and basically provide a platform on which she can make an income as a recording artist. Dr. Luke’s lawyers have argued the entire time that if Kesha wants to record music, she can record music without Luke – which is true, but that doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily be a career.
Which is why Taylor Swift’s donation to the Free Kesha movement is so important. If Kesha’s stuck either recording with a label that won’t support her or completely upending her career and starting over (and now, possibly being countersued by Luke for defamation), she needs financial support to move forward as a musician. Swift has been positioning herself as a musician who cares about the way her industry works by famously pressuring Apple to change their payment policies. Record contracts force artists to all but sell their souls, as evidenced by Kesha’s case against Dr. Luke, and Swift is following through on her industry activism with this donation.