- REUTERS/Andrew Kelly; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
- Celebrity talent manager Scooter Braun is preventing Taylor Swift from performing her old music at the AMAs or including it in an upcoming Netflix documentary about her life, the pop star alleged in a tweet on Thursday.
- Braun purchased Big Machine Label Group for $300 million and now owns the rights to Swift’s master recordings of much of her back catalog, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- Swift called the situation her “worst case scenario” in a June 30 Tumblr post.
- The former party promoter has an estimated net worth of $400 million as of July 2019, according to Fox Business, and works with Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato.
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Scooter Braun’s feud with Taylor Swift is escalating.
Swift posted a lengthy statement on Twitter on Thursday accusing Braun and Scott Borchetta, who founded her former label Big Machine Records, of impeding her upcoming performance at the American Music Awards, Business Insider’s Lauren Frias previously reported. Swift also claimed that Braun and Borchetta, who is the head of her former record label, “declined the use of my older music or performance footage” in an upcoming Netflix documentary about her life.
Tensions appeared to be cooling after Swift released her highly-anticipated new album, “Lover,” in August and Braun congratulated her with a supportive tweet. The feud initially began after Swift wrote on Tumblr that it was her “worst case scenario” to have Braun control her catalog on June 30. But plenty of other stars – including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Karlie Kloss – have been happy to let him control their careers.
After signing Bieber in 2008, Braun became “the defining music executive of the social media era, known for aggressive online cross-promotion between clients,” according to The New York Times. Braun’s acquisition of Swift’s former record label is only his latest move to transform his company, SB Projects, into one of the most powerful forces in Hollywood.
Keep reading to learn about Braun’s career and life.
Scott “Scooter” Braun, 38, is a native of Stratford, Ontario.
- Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Fast Company
Braun attended Emory University, where he sold fake IDs as a side hustle, according to The Washington Post.
Braun also worked as a party promoter before discovering Justin Bieber, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Braun began his career in Hollywood as Justin Bieber’s manager.
- Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
Braun approached Bieber after seeing videos of 13-year-old Bieber singing R&B songs on YouTube in 2008, according to The Washington Post. Bieber’s mother, Pattie Mallette, told The New York Times in 2009 that Braun “tracked down Justin’s school, calling board members, imploring them to contact [her].”
As Bieber’s career took off, so did Braun’s.
Braun has since become a major player in pop music.
- Getty Images/Dave Hogan for One Love Manchester
In addition to Bieber, Braun also manages the careers of Ariana Grande, Zac Brown Band, Tori Kelly, Karlie Kloss, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Black Eyed Peas, and J Balvin. Braun has “broken more new artists than any other music executive in the last decade,” he says on his personal website.
Braun also heads Schoolboy Records label and has a joint venture with Usher, Raymond-Braun Media Group.
Braun has also dabbled in investing.
- Reuters/Andrew Kelly
Braun has stakes in Uber, Spotify, Songza, Casper, Waze, and Pinterest through his company SB Projects, according to his personal website.
In May, Demi Lovato announced that she had joined Braun’s roster of clients.
- Simone Joyner/Getty Images
“Dreams came true today for me,” Lovato wrote on Instagram alongside a picture of her and Braun. “Couldn’t be happier, inspired and excited to begin this next chapter with you Scooter!!! Thank you for believing in me and for being a part of this new journey. Let’s DO THIS!!!!!!”
Braun is married to Yael Cohen, the founder of F*** Cancer.
- JC Olivera/Getty Images
“I saw [a video of] her TEDx talk,” Braun told Architectural Digest in February 2018, recalling his future wife’s 2010 lecture on F*** Cancer. “And I just really wanted to meet her.”
The guests at their 2014 wedding included Bieber, Jepsen, Sophia Bush, Tom Hanks, and Rita Wilson, Business Insider previously reported.
The pair has two sons, according to Architectural Digest.
Braun and Cohen split their time between two California homes.
- Ily Glenn/Shutterstock
The pair spends most of their time at their house in Los Angeles’ Brentwood neighborhood. On the advice of friends Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, they also purchased a second home in Montecito, according to Braun’s February 2018 interview with Architectural Digest. Braun said he and Cohen were visiting DeGeneres and de Rossi’s Montecito home when DeGeneres and de Rossi surprised Braun and Cohen with a meeting with a broker.
Braun also does a lot of charity work.
- Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Braun serves on the board of F*** Cancer, and his companies have “granted more wishes for Make-A-Wish than any other organization in the history of the foundation,” he says on his personal website.
Braun is also politically active. He’s a supporter of California Senator Kamala Harris and even hosted a fundraiser for her presidential campaign at his home.
- REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Grande, Lovato, and Katy Perry were among the 100 guests in attendance, Insider previously reported.
But Swift’s fans weren’t thrilled about Harris’ decision in the midst of Braun’s feud with their idol, and they attacked the presidential hopeful for associating with Braun.
One fan tweeted: “I was so excited for you as a democratic candidate, but if you so choose to go to an event held by [Braun], a man whose arrogance mirrors our president’s, I can no long hold onto my excitement and faith for you as a presidential candidate, @KamalaHarris #disappointed.”
Their anger was rooted in Braun’s newfound ownership of Swift’s old music. On June 30, Braun announced that his company, Ithaca Holdings LLC, would acquire Big Machine Label Group.
- Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Ithaca Holdings
In the $300 million purchase, Braun gained control of the masters of Swift’s six previous albums, though Swift herself signed a contract with Republic Records in 2018, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Nashville-based label’s current artists include Sheryl Crow, Lady Antebellum, Thomas Rhett, Rascal Flatts, and Florida Georgia Line.
Swift criticized the deal on Tumblr, calling Braun’s ownership of her catalog her “worst case scenario.”
- Kevin Mazur/Getty
Swift said in a Tumblr post that she had been the victim of “incessant, manipulative bullying” by Braun for years. She accused him of orchestrating a music video by Kanye West that depicted her naked, as well as of releasing a recorded phone call with West in 2016.
Swift wrote that she repeatedly asked to purchase her masters but was never given the opportunity by Big Machine. She also said that she knew the masters would eventually be sold along with the rest of Big Machine, but wrote that “never in [her] worst nightmares” did she think Braun would be the one to purchase them.
Big Machine signed a 15-year-old Taylor Swift as its first artist in 2005, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Braun maintains a close relationship with Bieber, who defended him against Swift’s accusations on Instagram.
- Stuart Franklin/Getty Images and Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
“Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you!” Bieber wrote on Instagram. “I’m sure Scooter and I would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain, or any feelings that need to be addressed.”
During an August appearance on “CBS Sunday Morning,” Swift vowed to rerecord her albums to keep Braun from profiting from them.
- REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo
The possibility arose in the public imagination after Kelly Clarkson tweeted about the idea July 13, Business Insider previously reported.
“Just a thought,” Clarkson wrote, “U should go in & re-record all the songs that U don’t own the masters on exactly how U did them but put brand new art & some kind of incentive so fans will no longer buy the old versions. I’d buy all of the new versions just to prove a point.”
Despite the ongoing drama, Braun congratulated Swift on her seventh studio album, “Lover.” The new album was released in late August.
- REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo
Regardless of what has been said the truth is you don’t make big bets unless you are a believer and always have been. Brilliant album with #Lover. Congrats @taylorswift13. Supporting was always the healthier option ???? #brilliantalbum #brilliantcampaign congrats
— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) August 23, 2019
The feud escalated once again after Swift accused Braun and Borchetta of preventing her from performing her old music at the AMAs — and Big Machine fired back in a statement to US Weekly.
- Business Insider / Jillian D’Onfro
Swift wrote that she will be honored as Artist of the Decade at this year’s AMA ceremony and will perform at the show, Business Insider’s Lauren Frias previously reported. The singer-songwriter wrote that she was planning to perform “a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show,” but alleged that Braun and Borchetta won’t allow her to perform the older hits, as it “would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year.”
She also wrote in the statement that Netflix has been creating a documentary about her life, but claimed that Braun and Borchetta have “declined the use of my older music or performance footage for this project, even though there is no mention of either of them or Big Machine Records anywhere in the film.”
In a long statement signed by Big Machine but sent to Variety by Braun’s company, SB Projects, the company flatly denied Swift’s claims, writing, “Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist.” The label also accused Swift of “contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets to our company, which is responsible for 120 hardworking employees who helped build her career,” Variety reported.