Taylor Swift had responded to the recent news that Scooter Braun has sold her masters for $300 million. With Swift in an ongoing battle to own the rights to her own music, let’s take a look back at the story so far, and how this only emphasises the feminist icon she is.
Swift vs Braun has been an ongoing battle since 2019, since Taylor left her old label Big Machine Records, with whom she signed on to when she was 15, for a contract with Republic Records. When she left, she expressed her gratitude to the people she worked with, writing “Thanks to Scott Borchetta for believing in me as a 14-year-old and for guiding me through over a decade of work that I will always be so proud of.”
Then, it was discovered that Scooter Braun had brought `Big Machine Records, and all of Taylor’s music she recorded with them. Taylor explained that she would hold the rights to her music going forward, but her six previous albums would still be under her old label.
Taylor put a post on Tumblr explaining the situation and he own feelings, referring to it as her “worst case scenario”. She wrote “For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my own 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.”
Her reason for disliking Braun so much? Well, it goes back to the Kanye West drama. Taylor posted a screenshot of a photo of what Scooter’s client and friend Justin Bieber had posted on Instagram in 2016. In the photo you can see the singer and Scooter were on FaceTime with Kanye West, who has also had ongoing issues with Taylor since 2010. Justin had captioned the post “Taylor Swift what up,” clearly referring to all the drama. While this had nothing to do with JB, him posting this affected Taylor deeply, and is a clear example of online bullying. Justin has since apologised, saying “at the time, I just thought it was funny but looking back it was distasteful and insensitive.” However, he then went on to defend Scooter more, so arguably it wasn’t really an apology at all.
As Taylor further explained in her Tumblr post, “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. 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 music legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tries to dismantle it.”
Braun, Bieber and West all publicly bullied Taylor, and she didn’t stand by and take it, instead she chose to call them out and embarrass them, even though that could have been damaging to her career. These are three powerful men in the music industry, and to take them on and continue fighting for what she believes to be right is, in my opinion, a real power move from Swift, and shows that you don’t have to go along with what’s expected of you if it’s not right, regardless of how much ‘power’ they may seem to have.
Then, in August 2019, Taylor announced she had plans to re-record her old music, something she said she was very excited about. Speaking on Good Morning America, Swift said “I just think that artists deserve to own their work. I just feel very passionately about that. Yeah, it’s next year. It’s right around the corner. I’m going to be busy. I’m really excited.”
Some of the accused did hit back at Taylor, such as Scott Borchetta (the founder of Big Machine Records) rebuffing Taylor’s accusations and said that Taylor’s dad, Scott Swift, was knew about the deal all along as he was a shareholder of Big Machine Records. He also claimed he had informed Taylor of the deal personally. However, in a statement to US Weekly Taylor’s lawyer Donald Passman said, “Scott Borchetta never gave Taylor Swift an opportunity to purchase her masters, or the label, outright with a check in the way he is now apparently doing for others.”
Even though people are apologising, and arguably backpedalling due to the backlash from Swift’s fans, the damage has already been done, and Taylors mentality hasn’t changed. She is continuing to fight for her rights and showing others how important it is not to back down.
Then, on November 16th, it came to light that Scooter had sold her masters to another company. In a statement posted to Twitter, Taylor wrote “For the past year, I’ve been trying to regain ownership of my master recordings. With that goal in mind, my team attempted to enter into negotiations with Scooter Braun.” She continued on to say that Scooters team had asked he to sign a non-disclosure agreement stating that she could only talk about him and the company in a positive manner, which Swift declined. “He would never even quote my team a price. These master recordings were not for sale to me,” Taylor went on to say.
She explained that her team had been sent a letter explaining that her music, album art and videos has been brought by Shamrock Holdings. Originally, she had been interested in working with them, but once she realised Scooter would still be profiting she declined their offer to work together. Alongside her statement, she also posted the letter she sent to Shamrock Holdings explaining why she would not be working with them, and ended her statement “I’m just gonna keep cruising, as they say,” in reference to her No.1 hit “Shake it off”.
Even after all this, Swift has released 2 albums, ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’, showing how nothing and no one is going to keep her and her career down. The albums are amazing, and as a Taylor Swift fan I recommend you give it a listen, and support her music.