Jun
5

Did Taylor Swift’s Dad Buy Her Career?

June 5, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  28 Comments

The short answer is, no. But you wouldn’t believe that from listening to Taylor Swift detractors or reading the comment threads on Swift articles. Quick to discount the young songstress, this is the first accusation you will see of why Taylor Swift’s success is a sham.

It sounds like such a sexy, plausible idea. The problem is it really is impossible for anybody to buy the massive public appeal Taylor Swift enjoys. Sure, money can set the wheels in motion, and make no mistake Taylor’s dad did offer material support to her career in its early stages. But Taylor’s success and meteoric rise depended way more on smart moves, her savviness with social networking, the appeal of her music (however good or bad you may think it is personally), the fact that her audience is the last bastion of the music buying public (little girls and their moms), and possibly most importantly, timing. In truth, Eric Church may have had just as much to do with Taylor Swift’s success as Swift Sr (see below).

Does Taylor Swift’s dad own Swift Trucking?

No, this is an urban myth.

Was Taylor Swift’s dad/family rich?

Scott Swift is a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch. Taylor’s mom is a homemaker. By most accounts, the Swift’s were wealthy, but not rich, living on an 11-acre tree farm before moving to the semi-affluent Wyomissing, Pennsylvania when Swift was 9, summering in a home in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. Swift’s family was solidly upper middle class, but in no way super-affluent to the tune of being able to shell out millions of dollars to make their daughter’s music career a reality. In fact Taylor was the one shelling out millions for her parents when she bought them a $2.5 million mansion in Nashville in August 2011.

What Swift’s parents did do is support her no different than most families might support a child pursuing their interests. Taylor’s music career was not foisted upon her by her parents. They gave Taylor her gender-neutral name in hopes she would be big in the business world. Once she showed interest in showbiz and music, they paid for lessons, sent her to camps, chauffeured her to various songwriting sessions and coffee shop/club gigs, and eventually moved to Nashville as her career began to take off. The support of Taylor’s dad helped her career, but saying it was “bought” seems like a reduction of her family’s efforts, including the efforts of Taylor’s mother who remains a major part of her management team.

Did Taylor Swift’s dad buy a mass quantity of her first album to drive sales numbers?

Another common accusation. If he did, no smoking gun has ever surfaced to prove so. However this practice to artificially bloat sales numbers to increase visibility and attention through chart rankings is not uncommon, especially for inaugural albums. And let’s remember, Taylor’s first album was also the inaugural album for Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine record label, creating multiple reasons to show successful sales numbers. How might we know if this tactic was used in Taylor’s case? It could come out in litigation, which leads to the one possible unscrupulous event in Taylor Swift’s rise.

Taylor Swift’s Dad vs. Dan Dymtrow

Dan Dymtrow was Taylor Swift’s first real manager; a big, New York-based talent representative that also represented Britney Spears for a period. He was hired in April of 2004 when Taylor was 14, and was fired by the family right before Taylor signed with Scott Borchetta and Big Machine in July of 2005. Dymtrow was the one responsible for introducing Taylor to Borchetta and the booking agency CAA. After allegedly being “strung out” by the Swift family, Dymtrow was dumped, allegedly at the behest of Scott Borchetta.

Dymtrow was only paid $10,000 for, as he claims, helping launch Taylor Swift’s career, and in response filed a lawsuit in 2007, demanding the 5%-10% of Taylor’s earnings his contract with her stipulated. Certain provisions of the lawsuit were initially thrown out, but the one claiming “unjust-enrichment” remained in tact.

The most damming piece of evidence from the lawsuit was an email Taylor’s dad supposedly sent to Scott Borchetta showing a prearranged agreement to dump Dymtrow before Big Machine would sign Taylor. “Enough with the Dymtrow,” Scott Swift allegedly wrote to Scott Borchetta. “You asked me to break both his legs, wrap him in chains and throw him in the lake. I did.”

The defense for the lawsuit was a technicality. Taylor Swift was under 18 when she signed the contract with Dymtrow, and since the contract did not have court approval, which is law in New York for a minor, Swift and Borchetta’s lawyers claim the contract is null and void. The Swift’s and Borchetta did not attack the merits of the contract itself, though they did say Dymtrow is grossly exaggerating his impact on Taylor’s career.

The other interesting part about this lawsuit is how secretive it has been. It was started in 2007, but was not made public until October of 2010. Since then, there has been no word on the progress or outcome of the suit, and numerous calls and emails by Saving Country Music to the various parties rendered only “no comment” replies.  The hushed nature of this lawsuit is what has led to some of the suspicions, misconceptions and urban myths about Taylor’s meteoric rise.

But even if all of Dymtrow’s accusations are true, does this somehow frame Taylor’s dad as the Daddy Warbucks of her career? No. If anything, it proves that the well-connected Dymtrow was the one responsible for Taylor’s rise, not her dad.

How Eric Church Helped Taylor Swift

In October of 2006, Eric Church was on a major arena tour opening for Rascal Flatts. Church continuously played too long, and too loud, defying the wishes of Rascal Flatts until he was asked to leave the tour. Who was Eric Church’s replacement? Taylor Swift, sitting in the cat bird’s seat because of her relationship with live promoter CAA who former manager Dan Dymtrow introduced Swift to. This was her first major concert tour break and significantly helped propel her career because it paralleled the rise of her first single, “Tim McGraw”.

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But whether it is crediting Eric Church, Dan Dymtrow, Taylor’s dad, or Scott Borchetta, discounting all of Taylor Swift’s own hard work, and the right time/right place appeal for her songs and image seems to be misunderstanding of what has led to Taylor Swift’s success.

28 Comments to “Did Taylor Swift’s Dad Buy Her Career?”

  • an 11 acre tree farm and a summer home on the jersey shore? must have been nice. if i was lucky i got to spend time in an airstream or maybe a tent at a state park down at the beach.

       11 likes

    • the old “must be nice” card.

      Every (most) parents try to give their kids as much opportunity as possible and the best life possible. So her father worked his career and it allowed him to give his daughter options.
      Not everyone has the same support, but that isn’t the successful persons fault. Some could argue growing up an orphan and dirt poor is the only way some very successful people got the drive to make it. Should we say “must have been nice to have that shitty life as motivation?”

      Taylor isn’t my cup of tea, but none of us, no human chooses their childhood nor would they turn down a good up bringing.

         15 likes

      • that wasn’t my point. just trying to add a little humor. of course no one can choose their parents or their situation in life as a child to assume such would be asinine.

           11 likes

    • Taylor’s Father owns 3% of the label Big machine Records, and was an initial investor in the record company launch with an estimated 120 thousand investment. So in essence you might say he “Bought” her career . As far as her career goes Taylor is a superstar because of Taylor herself. Its her writing that has made her what she is. Sounds to me like dad had the foresight and faith in his daughter’s talent and made a REALLY sound business decision based on those factors. Becoming famous is hard enough, but staying there is a whole other thing. She puts the work in and she writes the songs, she keeps herself relevant and popular.

      If you had the money to help your daughter fulfill her dreams and you knew she was seriously talented wouldn’t you shell out the money to help make it happen?….He did what any good father in his position would do, and Taylor took it and ran with it. Now they are all reaping the rewards and pressures of being famous !

      They are all around Smart and this pop album will break records also. All the best artists change and grow and take you in different directions. She always has a plan just like Madonna did back in the day, every album had direction and vision. She controls her destiny, and Big Machine collects the checks!

         0 likes

  • Oh hey another Taylor Swift post!

       1 likes

    • You know the new SCM motto: “All Taylor, All the Time!”

      :D

         4 likes

  • You can fool some of the people some of the time ……………

       4 likes

  • Considering Taylor’s album debuted with 39K copies and took something like 40 weeks to reach number one on the country music charts, I think it’s safe to say her six months radio tour and other concerts, and her signing autographs after shows for hours at a time rules out her label or dad buying it to inflate her sales totals.

    I think this headline is somewhat sensationalist, which I realise is intended to drive visits to the site, but in a way it encourages these misplaced rumors which were largely generated by one single fanbase; the artist of that fanbase I won’t mention because for all I know they are innocent of the hatred that fanbase has always shown towards Taylor, along with a couple other fanbases and various other groups.

    You could write the same article about numerous other artists, such as “Did so-and-so’s career only happen because of American Idol” or “Did Blake Shelton only win those awards because of his exposure on “The Voice” or any other number of somewhat inflammatory headlines. I think it’s a little disrespectful of Taylor’s efforts and using her for your own promotion in a not-so-gallant way, even tho I know you discount these rumors for the most part in your article.

    I don’t mean this as an attack, and I’m not always able to write my thoughts clearly. You have to write how you feel and usually I think you do a good job of being fair and impartial to everyone, so perhaps it’s my own partiality of Taylor that causes me to react towards this one the way I do. In any case, kudos to you for recognizing these rumors for what they are, for the most part.

    One last thing, I don’t think Taylor owes anything to Eric Church, she was going to be big in music whether she opened for the Flatts or started in some other way. It was her determination and committment that got her where she is, no matter how much money was behind her. If it was only money, many other would-be superstars would be superstars today.

    Thanks for letting me comment :)

       13 likes

    • Good comment Sinn!

      The title of this article was generated for one reason and one reason only: to capture people going to search engines and trying to find information about if Taylor Swift’s dad bought her career, a question I have seen very commonly asked, and a statement I’ve very commonly seen asserted in many places. I agree it can come across as sensational, but I’m not sure how to word it any other way and give it the same effect. It is always difficult as a writer. It is your job to both write articles and attempt to be as impartial as possible (when the content is of this nature), yet if you believe in your content, you have to be a salesman for it to try and get it in front of as many people as possible.

      Trust me when I say a lot of my regular readers saw this title, rolled their eyes, and moved on. That’s OK, because this article was not for them. 2/3rds of the traffic that comes to Saving Country Music comes organically, meaning not from links on Facebook or Twitter, not from clicking on bookmarks for the site, but going to search engines and looking for information. If I had titled the article, “Dispelling Taylor Swift’s Urban Myths” people may not have found it because they most likely string of words people will put in to a search engine if they’re looking for this info are “Taylor Swift’s dad bought her career” or “Did Taylor Swift’s dad buy her career?” This may be a lot of technical mumbo jumbo, but it is the basis for choosing the title that I did.

      The journalist inside of me likes to be facts set straight, even if they work against my interests. Setting facts straight was the objective of this article. It will also hopefully generate traffic to the site, but if that was my only objective, I’d rarely or never write album reviews, and would strictly write about country music celebrity gossip.

         5 likes

      • Thanks Triggerman :) I do think you are pretty awesome, for everything you do. And thanks for explaining it so much clearer, I though tthat’s how it was but yet because I am a fan it still rankled on some level lol. Keep writing your heart, it’s true that’s the only way to do it, and even when you go wrong you won’t go wrong, if you know what I mean.

           2 likes

      • Triggerman,
        I appreciate your articles because regardless of your personal feelings, you always convey your message in an unbiased and entertaining style. I for one will continue to visit your website and follow you on social media.
        You’re a breath of fresh air in an industry riddled with sleaze buckets.
        Dude, you rock!
        thanks for a informative and interesting article.

           1 likes

  • Thank you for writing this! I literally was just looking up this question yesterday (I don’t think I’d heard the rumor before) and all I could find were random people on Yahoo answers and the like saying he had bought her career. Not exactly credible… I’m glad someone addressed the issue intelligently. I’m a pretty big Taylor fan so it’s definitely comforting to see confirmation that she really did get to where she is now by a lot of hard work. Not to say her parents didn’t help her anyway they could, but just that it was really her dream and she went for it.

       4 likes

  • I’m not trying to kiss ass and I’m not trying to stir things up. I’ll admit that I don’t love posts like this. I’ll read them. They are moderately interesting to me, but I understand the need to draw new readers. I’m fine with all that.

    However, I would rather read one hundred posts like this than have this website turn into essentially a collection of personal journals and a dictation of taste. This is my assessment of a certain “other” “country” music website that ostensibly covers similar music. If I wanted to be talked down-to about the history of rock, punk, metal, and lounge (WTF?) music, I’d have been a music history major in college. If I wanted to read about horror movies or politics, I would go to websites dedicated to those topics.

    Hopefully the nature of this headline keeps this from becoming a shitstorm, but I had a need to vent somewhere.

       1 likes

  • Just a quick correction – the Dymtrow case has concluded. All his claims were thrown out, expect for the unjust enrichment one. That was settled out of court, presumably to avoid further email leaks etc.

       1 likes

    • Thanks for the updated info. I did mention the claims getting thrown out, except for the unjust enrichment.

      “Certain provisions of the lawsuit were initially thrown out, but the one claiming “unjust-enrichment” remained in tact.”

      Do you have a link to a story that says the lawsuit was settled, or do you just know this personally. I’m not trying to discredit what you’re saying whatsoever, I just want to be able to verify that the lawsuit was settled so I can add that information to the story, as well as any details about what the settlement was. I spent a long time trying to procure this information. Thanks!

         0 likes

  • Nice story, Triggerman. I never bought that one. It just makes zero sense. You can fool people once (milli vanilli or whatever it was called), but you can`t do it for a long period of time. Obviously Taylor has talent and more importantly she is a very smart girl. She was one of the pioneers of using social media to get her message, music out there. Now owning her own Management company, bus company.

    But Carrie Underwood (sorry, we all knew that this was what Sinn was talking about) fans will stay hanging on to this for dear life. And that is sad.

       1 likes

    • Jacklantern, your comments are asinine. If someone is a fan of say Carrie Underwood, that does not automatically make them against Taylor Swift. I go to cmt website from time to time and see the same things you just wrote about anytime Carrie or Taylor are mentioned. You must be one of the many of use aliases on the same site. I like them both but it is people like you who do anything they can to keep things stirred up. I suppose you are a “swifty”. I think you are sad. I read Sinn’s comments too and it is obvious that she is a “swifty” too. Its almost word for word what has been posted under another name on other boards. I call it sour grapes because Shelton won ETOY and Swift did not. As far as the reference to Carrie about being someone from American Idol, why does it matter how she got her career started? Afterall, Eric Church provided the platform for Ms Swift didnt he? All artist still have to work to keep it going. These comments are right in line from the TS fans who for some reason have this thing against Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton because their favorite artists did not win at the ACMs this year. I call that sad also.

         2 likes

  • Good writing as always Triggerman. My girls have been pretty much in love with Taylor Swift from first sight. She seems to know what she’s doing, she seems sincere. My 5 year old wants her to sing a duet with Lonesome Wyatt.

       1 likes

  • If her dad bought her career, I reckon he owes me some money, ’cause my kids are nuts about her. Surely that means he paid ‘em off, right? (And yes, my kids. She’s Country Barbie, the closest thing in their eyes to a real live princess. You’re absolutely right that this is where her strength still lies. I let ‘em get away with it ’cause they sing along with Hayes Carll too.)

       2 likes

  • Thanks for what appears to be pretty clear-eyed analysis of the matter. Fact is, if Taylor Swift (and her collaborators) didn’t have what some sector of the public wanted and found pleasurable, it wouldn’t matter how much money anyone invested in it.

       0 likes

  • With such average musical talent, there has to be a backroom story to her rise. Her dad must have known a bunch of people in Nashville and NY to not only get her noticed, but to get her ahead of the crowd. At least she’s a pleasant diversion from Miley Cyrus and her PR trash machine.

       0 likes

  • He actually did buy her career, I was there when it all went down. So the short answer here is yes, he actually bought her career. He paid for Big Machine Records to open up and said that the first thing the record label had to do was to sign his daughter and make her a super star. Not sure where you get your facts, but yes, she was made from her dads money.

       1 likes

  • How much did being a slender, blue-eyed blonde have to do with her success?? In the entertainment world and the world in general there is still a strong advantage for women who have these characteristics..

       1 likes

  • I think that it comes down to authenticity. Dolly Parton’s father was a sharecropper and a construction worker in the country. Taylor Swift’s father was a stock broker and they had a summer home. Cheryl Crow’s father is a lawyer. Who is singing because it is natural to them to sing country music and who is doing it because it is a good way to make money?

       1 likes

  • This article is a sham….I was in the room when Scott Swift paid Scott Bruschetta 3 million dollars for Taylors deal with Big Machine….fucking liars!

       1 likes

    • And I guess you were the second gunman on the Grassy Knoll too right??

         1 likes

  • No one person can make anyone a superstar….one word….jealousy. I live in Nashville and I hear it all the time. She has passion and that is what makes her successful.

       0 likes

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