Taylor Swift responded to the sale of her music in an emotional Twitter post about Scooter Braun
In 2019, music manager Scooter Braun and his company, Ithaca Holdings LLC, acquired Big Machine Label Group and all of its recorded music assets for a whopping $300 million. This massive purchase included the master rights to everything from Taylor Swift’s first six albums, much to the dismay of Swift herself and Swifties everywhere. Recently, Braun sold all of the master rights to Swift’s songs/album art/etc., because somehow rich men in the music industry are allowed to buy and sell her work. Now, Swift is speaking out.
Swift’s master catalog — from her 2006 self-titled debut to 2017’s Reputation — was reported by Variety to be worth about $140 million, meaning Scooter Braun made $140 million (and stands to make even more in the future due to the terms of the deal), not for making or singing or performing any music, but for simply aquiring and selling Swift’s work at a profit.
On Monday, November 16, 2020, Swift singer took to Twitter to share her feelings about Braun’s business decisions and her many attempts to buy her own music back.
“As you know, for the past year I’ve been actively trying to regain ownership of my master recordings. With that goal in mind, my team attempted to enter into negotiations with Scooter Braun,” Swift wrote. “Scooters team wanted me to sign an ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive, before we could even look at the financial records of BMLG (which is always the first step in a purchase of this nature).”
She clarified that signing that document would silence her before she even had a chance to bid on her own work — how awful is that? This is her music, her art, and Braun tried to ensure she had no rights to it whatsoever by selling to another company without her consent.
“My legal team said that this is absolutely NOT normal, and they’ve never seen an NDA like this presented unless it was to silence an assault accuser by paying them off. He would never even quote my team a price,” she wrote. “These master recordings were not for sale to me.”
She said that she was only made aware of Braun selling her masters after she received a letter from a private equity company, Shamrock Holdings, letting her know they had purchased her music, videos and album art — totally unbeknownst to her.
“This was the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge.” Swift continued. “The letter told me that they wanted to reach out before the sale to let me know, but that Scooter Braun had required that they make no contact with me or my team, or the deal would be off.”
Thankfully, Swift’s last two albums, Lover and folklore were released through Universal Music Group and in her message to fans, she said that she has also begun re-recording her old masters, now that she’s finally legally able to, which she described as “exciting” and “creatively fulfilling.”
She concluded her letter in a classy, graceful way — because of course she did, she’s Taylor Swift. “I love you guys and I’m just gonna keep cruising, as they say.”