Scooter Braun sells Taylor Swift masters

Swift has spoken out about the sale

Scooter Braun has sold the master recordings to Taylor Swift’s first six albums to Shamrock Holdings. Braun acquired the masters when his Ithaca Holdings LLC purchased Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) from founder Scott Borchetta last summer. Variety reports the deal is worth more than $300 million and closed in the last two weeks.

BMLG signed Swift at the beginning of her career and helped develop her into a global superstar. The label released all six of Swift’s multi-platinum studio albums including Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989 and Reputation. Under Big Machine, Swift earned ten GRAMMY nominations and broke records by becoming the only artist in Nielsen Music history to achieve four million-selling weeks. The masters from Swift’s albums with BMLG are included in the acquisition portfolio.

Swift has been at odds with the label, Borchetta and Braun over the past couple of years as she’s attempted to purchase the masters to no avail while also being caught up in live performing rights. Swift took to social media where she shared an open letter about the masters sale after it went public on Monday (Nov 16th).

“As you know, for the past year I’ve been actively trying to regain ownership of my master recordings. With that goal in mind, my team attempted to enter into negotiations with Scooter Braun,” she writes.

“Scooter’s team wanted me to sign 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 (which is always the first step in the purchase of this nature). So, I would have to sign a document that would silence me forever before I could even have a chance to bid on my own work. My legal team said that is absolutely NOT normal, and they’ve never seen an NDA like this presented unless it was to silence an assault accuser by paying them off. He would never even quote my team a price. These master recordings were not for sale to me.

“A few weeks ago my team received a letter from a private equity company called Shamrock Holdings, letting us know that they have bought one hundred percent of my my music, videos, and album art from Scooter Braun. This was the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge. The letter told me 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.

“As soon as we started communication with Shamrock, I learned that under their terms Scooter Braun will continue to profit off my old musical catalog for many years. I was hopeful and open to the possibility of a partnership with Shamrock, but Scooter’s participation is a non-starter for me.

“I have recently begun re-recording my older music and it has already proven to be both exciting and creatively fulfilling. 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.”

If figures are accurate, the sale of Swift’s masters are likely to cover what Braun paid for the entire label last year in a deal that was worth north of $300 million. BMLG features an extensive catalog of modern pop country acts, such as Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Lady A and others, across several imprints. In its 15 years of existence, BMLG companies have amassed over 118 No. 1 songs and sold over 65 million albums worldwide. Six of the top 10 digital country songs of all time have all been released by BMLG or by BMLG artists including Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” as well as their collaboration with Bebe Rexha titled “Meant To Be”; Lady A’s “Need You Now”; Swift’s “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me”; and The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young.”

Borchetta still runs the label that’s based in Nashville.

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Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com
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