Taylor Swift responds to Scooter Braun selling masters to her first six albums

Lauren Huff
·3 min read

Leon Bennett/FilmMagic; John Salangsang/Variety/Shutterstock

Music mogul Scooter Braun is shaking off Taylor Swift's old masters.

Braun has sold the master rights to Swift's first six albums to the private equity company Shamrock Holdings, just over a year and a half after he bought them when his Ithaca Holdings acquired Big Machine Label Group and its assets. According to Variety, which first reported the news, Braun sold the catalog for north of $300 million.

In a lengthy message posted to her social media accounts Monday, Swift addressed the news, claiming that she and her team attempted to buy back her masters from Braun but were met with 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."

In June of last year, Swift expressed public outrage that Braun had bought the rights to her masters when he acquired Big Machine. Posting on her Tumblr page, Swift called Braun’s acquisition of her masters the "worst case scenario" and said the news made her "sad and grossed out," in part because she alleges that Braun perpetrated "incessant, manipulative bullying" against her for years. The news led to an extensive back-and-forth between Swift and her team and Braun, his wife, and other supporters.

In her note on Monday, Swift said that Braun "would never even quote my team a price," and that a few weeks ago Shamrock reached out to let her know of the sale of her masters. "This was the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge," Swift wrote. "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."

According to Swift, under Shamrock and Braun's terms, the latter will continue to profit off Swift's music, and although she had been "hopeful and open to the possibility of a partnership with Shamrock," she now feels that won't be possible because, as she put it, "Scooter's participation is a non-starter for me."

Shamrock said in a statement to EW, "Taylor Swift is a transcendent artist with a timeless catalog. We made this investment because we believe in the immense value and opportunity that comes with her work. We fully respect and support her decision and, while we hoped to formally partner, we also knew this was a possible outcome that we considered. We appreciate Taylor’s open communication and professionalism with us these last few weeks. We hope to partner with her in new ways moving forward and remain committed to investing with artists in their work."

In November 2018, Swift left Big Machine for a new record deal at Republic Records and Universal Music Group. Under the deal, she now owns the masters to any of her new work, which most recently included her album Folklore. (Her first six albums were released under her deal at Big Machine, where she started her career.) Swift previously said she planned to re-record her old music, and she updated fans on the status of that venture Monday.

"I have recently begun re-recording my older music and it has already proven to be both exciting and creatively fulfilling," she wrote. "I have plenty of surprises in store. I want to thank you guys for supporting me through this ongoing saga, and I can't wait for you to hear what I've been dreaming up."

Representatives for Big Machine and Braun did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.

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