Swift speaks out after Scott Borchetta sells her masters in a $300 million deal to Scooter Braun
Taylor Swift is not happy with the sale of her former label, Big Machine Label Group, and the masters to her first six albums. The country-turned-pop-superstar has spoken out about how “sad and grossed out” she is with the $300 plus million deal in an open letter following the news on Sunday (June 30th).
“For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. 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. 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 writes on her Tumblr page.
“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.
“Like when Kim Kardashian orchestrated an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call to be leaked and then Scooter got his two clients together to bully me online about it. (See photo) Or when his client, Kanye West, organized a revenge porn music video which strips my body naked. Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.
“This is my worst case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept. And when that man says ‘Music has value’, he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it.
“When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them. Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter. Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to. He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever.
“Thankfully, I am now signed to a label that believes I should own anything I create. Thankfully, I left my past in Scott’s hands and not my future. And hopefully, young artists or kids with musical dreams will read this and learn about how to better protect themselves in a negotiation. You deserve to own the art you make.
“I will always be proud of my past work. But for a healthier option, Lover will be out August 23.
“Sad and grossed out,
News rocked the industry early Sunday after it was announced that Braun’s Ithaca Holdings LLC purchased Borchetta’s indie label powerhouse Big Machine Label Group. The combination creates one of the most powerful label, management, streaming, publishing and media companies by combining complimentary services, artists, executives and expertise.
The acquisition includes all six of Swift’s multi-platinum studio albums including Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989 and Reputation, as well as music by superstar artists such as Reba McEntire, Sheryl Crow, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Rascal Flatts, and Lady Antebellum. The label group encompasses four imprints including Big Machine Records, The Valory Music Co., BMLG Records and Big Machine/John Varvatos Records.
TMZ reports that Swift’s dad is on the BMLG board of directors and has known about the acquisition for a week. However, a spokesperson for Swift tells People, “Scott Swift is not on the board of directors and has never been. On June 25, there was a shareholder phone call that Scott Swift did not participate in due to a very strict NDA that bound all shareholders and prohibited any discussion at all without risk of severe penalty.
They continue, “Her dad did not join that call because he did not want to be required to withhold any information from his own daughter. Taylor found out from the news articles when she woke up before seeing any text from Scott Borchetta and he did not call her in advance.”
Braun’s wife Yael also took to social media Sunday to refute Swift’s remarks in a strongly stated letter. “You were given the opportunity to own your masters, you passed,” she shares on Instagram. “Interesting the man you’re so ‘grossed out’ by believed in you more than you believe in yourself. Your dad is a shareholder and was notified, and Borchetta personally told you before this came out. So no, you didn’t find out with the rest of the world.”
In its 14 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 Antebellum’s “Need You Now”; Swift’s “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me”; and The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young.”