Scooter Braun has commented on his previous acquisition of Taylor Swift‘s master recordings, which has led the pop superstar to begin the process of re-recording her first six albums.
Variety named Braun, longtime manager of the world’s biggest pop stars such as Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, its Music Mogul of the Year in a new cover story published Wednesday (June 23). In his interview with the magazine, he discussed his Ithaca Holdings’ purchase of Big Machine Label Group in June 2019, where he acquired the master recordings of Swift’s first six albums, for an estimated $300 million. In November 2020, Shamrock Holdings purchased Swift’s Big Machine Label Group catalog from Ithaca, marking the second time in 17 months ownership over her first six albums has changed hands.
Upon Braun’s initial purchase of her master recordings two years ago, Swift publicly declared her disdain for the deal and her intent to re-record her first six albums, which she began the process of in November 2019.
“I regret and it makes me sad that Taylor had that reaction to the deal. All of what happened has been very confusing and not based on anything factual,” Braun claimed to Variety. “I don’t know what story she was told. I asked for her to sit down with me several times, but she refused. I offered to sell her the catalog back and went under NDA, but her team refused. It all seems very unfortunate. Open communication is important and can lead to understanding. She and I only met briefly three or four times in the past, and all our interactions were really friendly and kind. I find her to be an incredibly talented artist and wish her nothing but the best.”
Swift had earlier addressed the sale of her masters in a letter she posted on Twitter in November 2020, confirming she entered into negotiations with Braun and his team, but that she was first presented with an “ironclad NDA” “that would silence me forever before I could even have a chance to bid on my own work.” She also stated at the time that Braun’s team would “never even quote my team a price.”
Been getting a lot of questions about the recent sale of my old masters. I hope this clears things up. pic.twitter.com/sscKXp2ibD
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 16, 2020
Braun’s team refuted her claim to Variety in the new story and stated that “negotiations had started in earnest.” But the sentiment toward the 40-year-old music mogul regarding the deal has been anything but earnest, as the loyal Swifties took to social media to label him a “bully” after the acquisition.
“The thing that struck me the worst is the word ‘bully.’ I’m firmly against anyone ever being bullied. I always try to lead with appreciation and understanding,” Braun said in the interview. “The one thing I’m proudest of in that moment was that my artists and team stood by me. They know my character and my truth. That meant a lot to me. In the long run, I’m happy for my life’s work to be the legacy I leave behind.”
The 11-time Grammy-winning singer released the first of the six re-recorded albums in April, a new version of her breakthrough sophomore album and first Billboard 200 No. 1 album dubbed Fearless (Taylor’s Version), which debuted at No. 1. Last week, the pop superstar announced her blockbuster 2012 album Red will be the second album she will re-record and release, due Nov. 19.
“It’s going to be fun, because it’ll feel like regaining a freedom and taking back what’s mine,” Swift told Billboard in 2019 of the re-recording process. “When I created [these songs], I didn’t know what they would grow up to be. Going back in and knowing that it meant something to people is actually a really beautiful way to celebrate what the fans have done for my music.”