Taylor Swift has described herself as “sad and grossed out” by Scooter Braun’s acquisition of Big Machine Records, which holds the rights to her entire catalog up through 2017’s “Reputation,” calling the deal “my worst case scenario.” Swift said she was shocked to first learn of the transfer of her work through news accounts Sunday morning. Braun declined Variety‘s requests for comment.
Swift posted her impassioned reaction in a Tumblr post, which reads:
“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.
“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’ [Swift’s first album through her new deal with Universal Music Group] will be out August 23.
“Sad and grossed out,
Todrick Hall, a former client of Braun who appears in Swift’s new video, posted on behalf of the singer. “For those asking, I left Scooter Braun a long time ago…I am saddened by this news, but not shocked. He is an evil person who’s only concern is his wealth and feeding his disgusting ego. I believe he is homophobic & I know from his own mouth that he is not a Swift fan,” he wrote
Halsey posted support for Swift on Twitter later Sunday, writing, “Taylor Swift is a huge reason why I always insisted to write my own music. I believed if she did it (in a way that made my teeth ache like cold water and my heart swell and my eyes leak) than I should too. Cause that’s how to make someone feel. To drag it from the pits of your heart. To offer it on a platter and say ‘take some but take kindly.’ She deserves to own the painstaking labor of her heart. And it turns my guts that no matter how much power or success a woman has in this life, you are still susceptible to someone coming along and making you feel powerless out of spite. It speaks volumes to how far we have to come in the music industry. The way writers are treated. How as an entertainer you are respected but as a writer you’re walked all over. Even when you are both in one single body. I am standing with her.”
— h (@halsey) June 30, 2019