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Who Is Taylor Swift's Publicist? Meet Tree Paine, PR Pro Who Manages TSwift's Image

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Who Is Taylor Swift's Publicist? Meet Tree Paine, The Power-PR Pro Who Manages TSwift's Image

Being Taylor Swift is a full-time job that involved way more than just writing and performing music. The pop star's carefully-crafted career requires support on the artistic side and on the business side. One of the people who is most critical to managing Taylor Swift and her image is her longtime publicist Tree Paine.

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Paine joined Swift's team in 2014, just as she was gearing up to release her blockbuster album 1989. In the years after that release, Paine has helped her navigate a sexual harassment suit against a DJ, a very public blow-up with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, some disappointing awards seasonss, and the decision to become more politically active in the past couple of years. 

Paine shows up in the new documentary about Swift called Miss Americana. The film premiered at Sundance this year and is now running on Netflix and give audiences a new look into Swift's life as an artist, a brand, and a person as well as introducing the people behind the star. 

Who is Taylor Swift's publicist? Read on to learn all about Tree Paine. 

1. Who is Taylor Swift's publicist? Paine was a major publicist even before she was TSwift's go-to PR woman.

Paine has deep roots in the music scene. She worked at Warner Music Nashville starting in 2007. She was the Senior Vice President of Publicity there and managed all PR for WMG’s country and Christian divisions, which included Atlantic, Elektra, Warner Bros., LoudMouth and Word Entertainment. 

“What makes Tree such an incredible publicist is her broad understanding of the business, which covers everything from artist development and management, to touring and marketing,” said CEO Joe Esposito of Paine in 2013.

She started her music industry career at Mute Records in the Sales & Marketing department before taking a job as the National Marketing Manager at World Domination Records From there she went to Maverick Records, finally landing at Interscope Records as a West Coast Marketing & Artist Development representative, where she worked with No Doubt, Snoop Dogg, Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson.

For a while after Interscope, she had her own company where she worked with Bonnie Raitt, Liz Phair, and Meredith Brooks.

2. She has a weird connection to the the Property Brothers.

Paine is married to Lance Paine, who used to be president of Scott Brothers Global, which is the Property Brothers' Drew & Jonathan Scott’s business holding company. These days, he's running a brand management company he founded in 2018 called Brand Atelier, LLC. 

Together, the couple has a daughter who was born in 2007

3. Paine started her own company and Swift was her first client.

In 2014, Paine announced she was leaving Warner to start her own shop. She already knew that Swift as going to be her first client when she made the announcement. The two had known each other for years and Swift deiced to hire her after parting ways with her previous publicist Paula Erikson. 

“There isn’t a publicist in NY, LA or Nashville that wouldn’t jump at an opportunity to work with someone as talented as Taylor Swift and her management team,” Paine said at the time.

Swift and Paine in 2016.

4. She will call someone a liar on Swift's behalf.

Paine has been a critical presence during the on-going battle between Swift and her former label Big Machine Label Group over the rights to her back catalog. Swift and Big Machine president Scooter Braun got into a dustup before the AMAs over what Swift would be allowed to play on stage. Swift alleged the label wasn't allowing her to perform old material, to which BMLG issued this statement: "At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special. In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere. Since Taylor’s decision to leave Big Machine last fall, we have continued to honor all of her requests to license her catalog to third parties as she promotes her current record in which we do not financially participate.” 

Paine clapped right back at the label and brought receipts to back up what she and Swift had been saying. “The truth is, on October 28, 2019 at 5:17 p.m. the Vice President, Rights Management and Business Affairs from Big Machine label group sent Taylor Swift’s team the following: ‘Please be advised that BMLG will not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its re-recording restrictions in connection with these two projects: The Netflix documentary and The Alibaba ‘Double Eleven’ event," Paine wrote. "In addition, yesterday Scott Borchetta, CEO and founder of Big Machine Label Group, flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix. Please notice in Big Machine’s statement, they never actually deny either claim Taylor said last night in her post. Lastly, Big Machine is trying to deflect and make this about money by saying she owes them but an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years.”

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5. Paine was by Swift's side — literally — when she made her first political post.

It was a very big deal in 2018 when the formerly non-partisan Swift posted her support of Democratic candidates in Tennesee running for office. In Miss Americana, there is a scene where she debates whether or not to go public with her support, and lot of the people on her team, including her father, caution her against taking sides, as they were worried about alienating her audience. Paine offers some practical advice to the social media-savvy star. She was concerned that the equally social-media-savvy Donald Trump might see it as an insult and got after her online. Swift listened to what her publicist had to say before replying, "I don’t f*cking care."

After deciding to go ahead with the post, Paine sits by Swift as she posts the photo on her Instagram.


A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Oct 30, 2018 at 10:37am PDT

Swift endorsed a Tennessee Democrat running for the Senate. 

6. What's next for Paine and Swift?

Swift suffered a disappointment this year when her latest album didn't win any Grammys, despite being nominated for Pop Album of the Year. So far she and Paine haven't publicized any new album plans but she does have a new song 'Only The Young' that appears in Miss Americana. 

You can watch Miss Americana on Netflix. 

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.