Taylor Swift Opens Up on 'Manipulative Bullying' After Her Music Catalog Is Sold to Scooter Braun

A recap of the ongoing battle

July 1, 2019
Taylor Swift attends the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 01, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Frazer Harrison

Frazer Harrison, Getty

Taylor Swift recently took to Tumblr to pen a revealing letter about the sale of her music catalogue. Scooter Braun, who manages Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, was recently given ownership of her masters as part of his $300 million acquisition of Big Machine Label Group. While not owning her music has been enough of an ongoing issue, Taylor also claims she had no knowledge of the sale until it was announced to the public. 

“For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work,” Taylor begins the post explaining the situation. She alleges that her previous label, Big Machine Records, held ownership of her recordings and offered to let her “earn” them back one by one. One new album released equaled getting back ownership of a previous album. “I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future.” 

After explaining why she decided to pass on Scott Borchetta’s offer, she revealed her thoughts on Scooter’s acquisition of her catalogue. “Some fun facts about today’s news: 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.” 

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Artists such as Halsey who have worked with Scooter or Taylor in the past came to back up her claims, while Justin Bieber defended his longtime friend and manager’s character. In an Instagram caption, Justin apologized for a 2016 post poking fun at Taylor and also urged those following the story to consider both sides. Demi Lovato soon came to the aid of her new manager, sharing to her Instagram story that she’s “dealt with bad people in this industry, and Scooter is not one of them.” 



“I will always be proud of my past work. But for a healthier option, Lover will be out August 23. Sad and grossed out, Taylor,” she concluded the note. 

After Taylor’s response was widely circulated, Big Machine Label Group founder Scott Borchetta hit back with a lengthy post including timestamps and quotes from their negotiations. “It’s time to set some things straight. Taylor’s dad, Scott Swift, was a shareholder in Big Machine Records, LLC,” Borchetta opened the blog shared to BMLG’s website. Her contract with BMG was signed when she was just 15 years old, leading some to speculate her father was involved in negotiations. 

The post outlines Borchetta and Taylor’s alleged communications leading up to her switch to Universal Music Group, including claims that she was offered 100% ownership of her recordings had she chosen to remain with BMG. “Taylor had every chance in the world to own not just her master recordings, but every video, photograph, everything associated to her career. She chose to leave,” Borchetta summarizes. 

He also includes a text from Taylor where she explained her finalized decision to leave BMG. “Owning my masters was very important to me, but I’ve since realized that there are things that mean even more to me in the bigger picture. I had a choice whether to bet on my past or to bet on the future and I think knowing me, you can guess which one I chose. I also saw a rare opportunity to effect positive change for a lot of other artists with the leverage I have right now. I know you believe in the same things I do and I’d like to think you would be proud of what I’ve negotiated for in my deal.” 

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