Swift Sued By Former Manager

The United States District Court in New York is expected to hear oral arguments Oct. 12 in a dispute between Taylor Swift’s former manager and her parents.

Photo: AP Photo
Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, La.

Daniel Dymtrow claims to have managed Swift during her fledgling years and says he has the documents to prove it. He claims Scott and Andrea Swift conspired to wrest control away from Dymtrow just as Taylor was signed to Big Machine Records and talent agency CAA in 2005.

The music manager, who in legal documents says he exclusively managed Britney Spears for a time, says the Exclusive Personal Management Agreement contract that was signed in 2003, when Taylor was 13, provides him 20 percent commission on Taylor’s gross income. He would also receive 10 percent and 5 percent commission for his participation in Taylor’s gross income earned, received or credited.

Dymtrow, who filed the suit in 2007, claims he took on management duties at the request of the parents, who had shopped Taylor to all of the record companies but were rejected. Dymtrow claims he focused on improving Taylor’s skills, creating an image that the public would accept and procured opportunities and contracts.

That included a music development deal with RCA, publishing rights with Sony/ATV, advertising tie-in with Abercrombie & Fitch, contract with Maybelline to be on its “Chicks With Attitude” music compilation CD, 2004 appearance in Vanity Fair magazine and two screen tests with Nickelodeon television and one for the film “Flicka” starring Tim McGraw, according to the lawsuit.

However, Dymtrow claims Scott Swift held up his daughter’s signing with CAA to deprive the music manager of compensation.

Scott Swift also allegedly had shady dealings with Sony/ATV that kept Dymtrow from compensation. Dymtrow then claims he was terminated, at least temporarily, while Scott Swift took over management duties. One of the reasons for the alleged termination was Dymtrow’s distance from Nashville.

“After his termination, Andrea Swift and Artist asked Mr. Dymtrow to have dinner with them so that they could explain what had just happened,” the lawsuit claims. “During the drive to the restaurant, Artist informed Mr. Dymtrow that she did not want to terminate her relationship with Mr. Dymtrow but that her father threatened her and that she would have to ‘choose between [her] father and [Mr. Dymtrow].’”

Pollstar interviewed Taylor Swift in 2007, when the 17-year-old was celebrating her first gold album. She was managed by Rick Barker, previously the West Coast rep for Big Machine. Barker told Pollstar that he told Swift that if she wanted to sell 500,000 albums, she would need to meet 500,000 people.

“He was the first one to ever say that to me and it sunk in,” Swift said. “I literally had a Top 10 single and no manager. We held off for a while because we kept saying, ‘Oh well, we’ll get this song to Top 30 and then we’ll be able to get a better manager. Oh, we’ll get this song Top 20 and then we’ll get a really good manager.’ Then we started realizing that we’re doing this whole thing ourselves.”

Photo: AP Photo
Performing at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  Swift’s Fearless was the top selling album of 2009.

Barker said that Big Machine wanted to keep Taylor’s management in-house.

“We needed to be able to move at the speed of light with a 16-year-old, and trying to convince someone else of the plan would have taken way too much time.”

Robert Allen at 13 Management currently manages Swift. The company had no comment regarding the lawsuit.