Taylor Swift has responded to reports that Scooter Braun and his media holding company, Ithaca Holdings LLC, have sold the rights to the artist's first six albums for a big fat bucket of gold.
For context: Scooter Braun is the cashed-up record executive who works with the likes of Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and at one point, Kanye West. In June 2019, Braun made headlines when his company acquired Big Machine Label Group, a deal that included the master rights to Taylor Swift's first six albums, even though she had been trying to buy the rights to her own music for years (you can read more about the vaguely interesting world of master rights here). Taylor says she has suffered "incessant, manipulative bullying" at the hands of Braun for years and later described him as the embodiment of the "toxic male privilege" hanging over the industry.
Now, Variety has reported that Braun has gone on to sell the master recordings to Taylor's first six albums to the value of a deal likely worth at least $300 million USD.
The singer-songwriter took to Twitter this morning to respond to the news. "As you know, for the past year I've been actively trying to regain ownership of my master recordings", the statement reads. "With that goal in mind, my team attempted to enter into negotiations with Scooter Braun".
Taylor writes that Scooter's team wanted her to sign an "ironclad NDA" stating she would "never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive", a type her lawyers had only seen in the case someone is keen to "silent an assault accuser by paying them off". Yikes.
She revealed that she had been contacted by Shamrock Holdings, alerting her that they had brought "100% of her music, videos and album art from Scooter Braun", adding this was the "second time [her] music had been sold without [her] knowledge".
Taylor added that while initially open to partnering with Shamrock, she's since learnt Braun will continue to get kickbacks under Shamrock's terms; a dealbreaker for the singer. "Scooter's participation is a non-starter for me", she writes.
Have a gander of her full statement below:
All this puts Taylor in the strange position of having her master rights thrown around without her knowledge. Her post, though, has a happy ending. Taylor confirmed she's in the process of re-recording her old music (which would help her reclaim ownership over her work), and reckons she's "just gonna keep cruising".
Written by Reena Gupta, a Melbourne-based writer at MTV Australia. Follow her on Twitter @purpletank