While Taylor Swift’s sprawling Rolling Stone cover interview is largely about her music and herself, there’s also plenty about the personal and business dramas of the last three years. And not surprisingly, Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta — who this summer inked a reported $300 million deal for the Big Machine Records catalog and with it, the rights to Swift’s first six albums — are addressed.
Swift claims to have been blindsided by the deal, which seems questionable since her father was a Big Machine shareholder and rumors within the industry were almost unavoidable in the weeks before it happened, but it’s possible the family turned a willfully blind eye. The singer has said she will re-record and release her earlier material when she is contractually permitted to do so next year — a brazen play to devalue her early catalog, which is now owned by Braun’s investment company — although whether or not that actually happens (or if a re-recording would actually spur sales of the originals) remains to be seen.
At the center of the dispute is Borchetta’s claim, among others, that Swift was offered the opportunity to purchase her catalog; she says that she was not offered that option without re-signing with the company.
“I’m not like [Borchetta], making crazy, petty accusations about the past,” she says. “When you have a business relationship with someone for 15 years, there are going to be a lot of ups and a lot of downs. But I truly, legitimately thought he looked at me as the daughter he never had. And so even though we had a lot of really bad times and creative differences, I was going to hang my hat on the good stuff. I wanted to be friends with him.
“I thought I knew what betrayal felt like, but this stuff that happened with him was a redefinition of betrayal for me, just because it felt like it was family. To go from feeling like you’re being looked at as a daughter to this grotesque feeling of ‘Oh, I was actually his prized calf that he was fattening up to sell to the slaughterhouse that would pay the most.’”
She then turns to Braun, after interviewer Brian Hiatt mentions that Borchetta accused Swift of declining to participate in a Braun-led Parkland pro-gun-control march and Ariana Grande’s “One Love Manchester” show to benefit the families harmed by the May 2017 bombing outside Grande’s concert in the city. Swift has said she mistrusted Braun ever since he, Justin Bieber and Kanye West mocked her on social media. In this quote, she seems to say that her team didn’t inform her about those offers.
“Unbelievable,” she says. “Here’s the thing: Everyone in my team knew if Scooter Braun brings us something, do not bring it to me. The fact that those two are in business together after the things he said about Scooter Braun — it’s really hard to shock me. And this was utterly shocking. These are two very rich, very powerful men, using $300 million of other people’s money to purchase, like, the most feminine body of work [Swift’s]. And then they’re standing in a wood-panel bar doing a tacky photo shoot, raising a glass of scotch to themselves. Because they pulled one over on me and got this done so sneakily that I didn’t even see it coming. And I couldn’t say anything about it.”
Reps for Borchetta and Braun did not immediately respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.