One of the most exciting events in showbiz is the Taylor Swift and Katy Perry feud. It’s exciting because it’s a side to celebrities we rarely see, the kind that PR professionals try to hide from fans. Most of what we see in magazines and websites are sanitized versions of stories, the kind that the celebrity’s PR team approves. So when news of a feud between two of pop’s biggest stars came out, we were hooked.
The story has been going on for a few years now and we thought it was over, until Swift finally uploaded all her songs on streaming platforms. The news is significant because of two things: Swift has famously pulled out her songs on platforms (except Apple Music) because “piracy, file sharing, and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically”, and because she reuploaded it on the same day Perry released her latest album Witness. Of course, these may be unrelated, but tea drinkers are already calling it out as an attack.
For those who missed the tea, we created a brief history of the feud:
@taylorswift13 You’re as sweet as pie! Let’s write a song together about the subject we know best… for my new record. It’ll be brilliant~
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) July 6, 2009
Both Swift and Perry seem to be chummy with each other, even tweeting praise and a possible collaboration. On July 6, Swift tweeted, “Watching the ‘Waking up in Vegas’ video. I love Katy Perry. I think I’m going to hang her poster on my wall now.” Perry responded, “You’re as sweet as pie! Let’s write a song together about the subject we know best… for my new record. It’ll be brilliant~.”
The friendship continued the following year, when Perry guested on Swift’s Fearless Tour to sing “Hot ‘N Cold.”
Things significantly changed in 2014, when Swift released her album 1989, which had the song “Bad Blood.” In an interview with Rolling Stone, she explained that the song was about another singer. She said, “For years, I was never sure if we were friends or not. She would come up to me at awards shows and say something and walk away, and I would think, ‘Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?'”
She added that the feud wasn’t even about boys. “It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I’m surprisingly non-confrontational — you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It’s awkward, and I don’t like it.”
Watch out for the Regina George in sheep’s clothing…
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) September 9, 2014
The day after the story was uploaded online, Perry tweeted, “Watch out for the Regina George in sheep’s clothing…”
@NICKIMINAJ I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot..
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 21, 2015
The MTV Video Music Awards announced its nominees, and Nicki Minaj took offense that her song “Anaconda” was not nominated. She tweeted, “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.” Swift, whose song “Bad Blood” was nominated, responded, ““I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.”
Finding it ironic to parade the pit women against other women argument about as one unmeasurably capitalizes on the take down of a woman…
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) July 22, 2015
Perry mysteriously tweeted the following day, saying “Finding it ironic to parade the pit women against other women argument about as one unmeasurably capitalizes on the take down of a woman…”
When Swift broke up with DJ Calvin Harris, he went on a tirade of tweets (now deleted) that attacked Swift. In one tweet, he said, “I know you’re off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy ETC but I’m not that guy, sorry. I won’t allow it.”
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) July 13, 2016
The same day, Perry tweeted a GIF of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shrugging.
Time, the ultimate truth teller.
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) May 9, 2015
She then retweeted a tweet from May 10, saying, “Time, the ultimate truth teller.”
if she says sorry, sure!
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) September 10, 2016
A fan tweeted Perry, asking if she will collaborate with Swift. She answered, “If she says sorry, sure!”
Katy Perry is promoting her upcoming album Witness, and she told Entertainment Weekly, “One thing to note is: You can’t mistake kindness for weakness and don’t come for me. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. And that’s not to any one person and don’t quote me that it is, because it’s not. But, let me say this: Everything has a reaction or a consequence so don’t forget about that, okay, honey.”
She then released the song “Swish Swish,” which has lyrics like “Don’t you come for me/ No, not today/ You’re calculated/ I’ve got your number/ Because you’re a joke/ And I’m a courtside killer queen.” Interesting to note that Minaj features on the song.
Perry performs the song on Saturday Night Live.
After a few days, the singer appears on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, where she confirmed the beef. She said, “It’s so crazy! Okay, so there are three backing dancers that went on tour with her tour, right? And they asked me before they went on tour if they could go, and I was like, ‘Yeah, of course. I’m not on a record cycle and get the work, and she’s great and all that. But I will be on a record cycle probably in about a year. So be sure to put a 30-day contingency in your contract so you can get out if you want to join me when I say I’m going back on.’ That year came up, right? And I texted all of them because I’m very close with them and I said, ‘Look, just FYI, I’m about to start. I want to put the word out there. They said, ‘Okay, we’re going to go and talk to management about it.’ And they did, and they got fired.”
Swift has not said anything about the issue, but she made all her songs available on music streaming platforms the same day Perry released Witness. According to the Taylor Nation Instagram account, “In celebration of 1989 selling over 10 Million Albums Worldwide and the RIAA’s 100 Million Song Certification announcement, Taylor wants to thank her fans by making her entire back catalog available to all streaming services tonight at midnight.”
To date, Swift’s music is outperforming Perry’s on Spotify. On the top 200 streamed songs, 10 are from Swift while four are from Perry’s Witness. It’s worth noting that the comparison is between Swift’s five albums and Perry’s latest, and that “Swish Swish” is the highest-ranking song at 55.
After the release, Perry sat down with The Huffington Post co-founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington, and said, “I forgive her and I’m sorry for anything I ever did, and I hope the same from her. And I love her, and I want the best for her. And I think she’s a fantastic songwriter, and I think that, you know, if we, both her and I, can be representatives of strong women that come together despite their differences, I think the whole world is going to go like, ‘Yeah, well we can do this.’ I don’t know. Like maybe I don’t agree with everything she does and she doesn’t agree with everything I do, but I just really truly want to come together in a place of love and forgiveness and understanding and compassion.”
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