Earlier today, MBW told you that Scooter Braun – via his Ithaca Holdings company – was acquiring Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group.
The price of that deal, sources say, was close to, likely slightly above, the $300 million mark.
The jewel in the crown for Braun in purchasing Big Machine, of course, is his newly-found ownership of the masters to Taylor Swift’s back catalog.
As a result of the deal, Ithaca Holdings owns and controls all six of Taylor Swift’s multi-platinum studio albums including Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989 and Reputation.
Now, in a shockingly frank post, Swift has publicly hit out at Borchetta and, in particular, Braun, who, she claims, has been responsible for “incessant, manipulative bullying” of her for years.
Read Swift’s statement in full below, which was posted on her Tumblr page (June 30) earlier today.
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.
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.
“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.”
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,
The line about being “signed to a label that believes I should own anything I create” references Swift’s new direct deal with Universal Music Group and Republic Records, which she announced in November last year.
That deal will see Swift assigned ownership of her master rights to new material, including her forthcoming album, Lover – likely following a short-term licensing agreement with Universal.
When Swift announced her new UMG deal on social media, she also reflected on what it meant to leave behind her long-standing deal with Big Machine.
“I want to express my heartfelt thanks to [Big Machine founder] 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,” she wrote at the time (pictured).
“I’m extremely grateful to get to do what I love, especially with the people I’ve been fortunate enough to work with. The best thing I’ve been lucky enough to receive is the dedication, trust, and loyalty of the fans who have cared about the words and melodies I’ve written. My biggest goal moving forward is to make you proud. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to show you what I’m making next.”Music Business Worldwide