Scott Borchetta says that he will “always” be rooting for Taylor Swift as the record executive and pop star continue to feud over her music catalog.
“Of course,” Borchetta, 57, recently told Billboard when asked if he’s still rooting for Swift amid the turmoil. “I mean, I’m always going to root for her. She’s brilliant and we’ve had a historic run, so, yeah.”
In the same interview, however, Borchetta said that his “biggest power move” of 2019 was joining forces with Scooter Braun — the very move that triggered the drama with Swift, 30.
“Our biggest power move is my new partner, Scooter Braun, with Ithaca. So we’re having a great time and it’s pretty powerful,” he continued, adding that the sale of Big Machine to Braun has taught him who is real friends are.
“We’ve always had a tough skin, so you know, there’s a great balance in the universe, great things have happened,” he said. “Every once in a while you’re going to get hit, but we’re rocking.”
Nearly a year after Swift signed a new record deal with Universal Music Group in November 2018, Big Machine sold for $300 million to Braun, meaning that Swift’s musical catalog was going along with it.
Just after the sale, Swift made it clear that she did not approve and wanted the rights to own her own music.
“For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work,” she wrote in a lengthy Tumblr post that gave some insight on her decision to leave Big Machine.
“Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in,” she explained. “I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. 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.”
Swift revealed in the same post that she didn’t know Braun was buying her former label until the news broke publicly.
“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.”
Borchetta has denied that Swift didn’t know about the sale until the rest of the world did, and released both text messages to Swift before the news was announced and an outline of their agreement in June 2019.
Swift has said she plans to re-record all of her old music, but will not be allowed to do so until November of this year.
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In November 2019, Swift alleged on Twitter that Borchetta and Braun were not going to allow her to play any of her old songs at the American Music Awards, or use them in her Netflix documentary that is coming out next week.
Big Machine said in a statement in response that “at no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special. In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere. Since Taylor’s decision to leave Big Machine last fall, we have continued to honor all of her requests to license her catalog to third parties as she promotes her current record in which we do not financially participate.”
Braun finally broke his silence on the matter in November 2019, saying at a Q&A moderated by Variety‘s Shirley Halperin, “I haven’t made a statement about it and that’s hard, because when you have a lot of things being said and a lot of different opinions — yet the principals haven’t had a chance to speak to each other — there’s a lot of confusion. I think that I’m not gonna go into details here because it’s just not my style.”
“What I’ll say is, people need to communicate and when people are able to communicate I think they work things out. I think a lot of times things are miscommunicated, but I believe that people are fundamentally good,” said.
“I also think there are a lot of real problems in the world, and I think that these problems that are being discussed can be discussed behind closed doors and figured out pretty easily,” he added. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for six months and it’s hard because I can handle it pretty easily.”
In December, Swift was honored as Billboard‘s Woman of the Decade, and in her speech accepting the award spoke about the ongoing drama with Borchetta and Braun.
“After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright, my entire catalog was sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings,” she said, reiterating that “Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale or even when it was announced.”
“I’m fairly certain he knew exactly how I would feel about it though and let me just say that the definition of toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying, ‘But he’s always been nice to me’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists and their rights to own their music,” she continued. “Of course, he’s nice to people in this room, you have something he needs.”
“The fact is that private equity is what enabled this man to think, according to his own social media posts, that he could ‘buy me.’ Well, I’m obviously not going willingly,” she added.