- Steve Granitz, Kevin Mazur / Getty
- Taylor Swift has said she is “sad and grossed out” about the celebrity manager Scooter Braun acquiring her old music.
- Braun reportedly bought the Big Machine label in a $300 million sale that included Swift’s first six albums, which she left behind in 2018.
- “All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years,” Swift wrote on Tumblr.
- She was referring to a feud between her and Kanye West, who was managed by Braun, that involved the music video for West’s song “Famous.”
- She also posted a photo of Justin Bieber, another of Braun’s clients, who had made a joke out of the situation.
- “Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it,” Swift wrote.
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On Sunday, Taylor Swift wrote a post on Tumblr saying she was “sad and grossed out” that the celebrity manager Scooter Braun had acquired her old music.
Braun reportedly bought Big Machine Records in a $300 million sale that included a back catalog of Swift’s music she left behind in 2018.
Big Machine Records apparently made it clear she couldn’t buy back her records in 2015 when Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was in talks to buy the company – she could only “earn” them back one at a time for every subsequent album she made. Instead, she decided to walk away from the label.
“I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future,” she wrote. “I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums.”
Even artists who write and perform their own music do not necessarily own it. As a music lawyer explained in a blog post for SonicBids, producers, engineers, record labels, and recording studios can all own part of the master recording along with the original artist.
“People other than the artist who were involved in the recording of the masters can make the argument that their contribution to the recording counts as a copyrightable contribution, and thus makes them joint owners,” the post said.
Swift was unable to own her first six albums, released from 2006 to 2017, because of a record contract she signed when she was 15.
“Some fun facts about today’s news,” she wrote on Tumblr. “I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.”
Swift was referring to a feud that dates back nearly a decade between her and Kanye West, a previous client of Braun’s. In 2009, West interrupted Swift’s speech for receiving the award for best female video at the MTV Video Music Awards, saying Beyoncé should have won.
The feud continued for a few years, with West apologizing and then unapologizing several times, until 2016 and the release of his track “Famous.”
It features the line “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous.”
Swift alluded to the song when she won album of the year at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
“As the first woman to win album of the year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who are going to try and undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” she said.
“If you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world. Thank you for this moment.”
West was insistent that Swift had given consent for the lyrics. Soon afterward, his wife, Kim Kardashian West, shared a video on Snapchat of a phone conversation between him and Swift that appeared to confirm this.
Swift’s representatives responded saying she had cautioned against a song with such “a strong misogynistic message.”
West also released a music video featuring a naked waxwork of Swift lying in bed. Braun was managing West during this period. Earlier this year, Swift “liked” a social-media post likening the video to “revenge porn.”
Swift included one example of what she called “manipulative bullying” in her Tumblr post: an Instagram post from Justin Bieber, another of Braun’s clients, that was a screenshot of a FaceTime conversation among him, West, and Braun with the caption “Taylor swift what up.”
“Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it,” Swift wrote.
In response, Bieber posted an image of him and Swift on Instagram with a long caption, first apologizing to her for “that hurtful Instagram post” he said was “distasteful and insensitive.” Then, he defended Braun, saying he had always had Swift’s back.
“Neither scooter or i have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you,” he said.
View this post on Instagram
Hey Taylor. First of all i would like to apologize for posting that hurtful instagram post, at the time i thought it was funny but looking back it was distasteful and insensitive.. I have to be honest though it was my caption and post that I screenshoted of scooter and Kanye that said “taylor swift what up” he didnt have anything to do with it and it wasnt even a part of the conversation in all actuality he was the person who told me not to joke like that.. Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you.! As the years have passed we haven’t crossed paths and gotten to communicate our differences, hurts or frustrations. So for you to take it to social media and get people to hate on scooter isn’t fair. What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? seems to me like it was to get sympathy u also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully scooter. Anyway, One thing i know is both scooter and i love you. I feel like the only way to resolve conflict is through communication. So banter back and fourth online i dont believe solves anything. I’m sure Scooter and i would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain or or any feelings that need to be addressed. Neither scooter or i have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you. I usually don’t rebuttal things like this but when you try and deface someone i loves character thats crossing a line..
Braun’s wife, Yael Cohen, mirrored Bieber’s words, saying Braun believed in her “more than she believes in herself.”
“Girl, who are you to talk about bullying,” she wrote on Instagram. “The world has watched you collect and drop friends like wilted flowers.”
Demi Lovato, a client of Braun’s, posted a message of support for him on her Instagram story, while the model Cara Delevingne commented on Bieber’s post saying he didn’t understand “what an apology is,” and Halsey said on Twitter that Swift “deserves to own the painstaking labor of her heart.”
Todrick Hall, who produced Swift’s new video for “You Need to Calm Down,” posted on Twitter that he was saddened by the news but “not shocked.”
“He is an evil person whose only concern is his wealth and feeding his disgusting ego,” Hall wrote. “I believe he is homophobic & I know from his own mouth that he is not a Swift fan.”
For those asking, I left Scooter Braun a long time ago…I am saddened by this news, but not shocked. He is an evil person who’s only concern is his wealth and feeding his disgusting ego. I believe he is homophobic & I know from his own mouth that he is not a Swift fan.
— Todrick Hall (@todrick) June 30, 2019