Carlyle Group, Investors in Taylor Swift Catalog, Address Scooter Braun Drama (Sort Of)

Kewsong Lee, co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, a private equity fund whose assets include a minority investment in Big Machine Label Group, the record company that’s home to Taylor Swift’s catalog, spoke to CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” on Wednesday. During the interview, held at the Goldman Sachs Financial Conference, host Wilfred Frost asked the business executive about the company’s stand on the singer’s battle with Scooter Braun.

For the most part, Lee deflected addressing the drama, telling the business news outlet, “She’s an incredibly talented performer and wonderful artist,” and adding that he’s “not involved in the day-to-day of all of our portfolio companies” but has “every confidence in the world that is going to turn out to be a successful investment.”

Pressed on what Frost called “the more emotional human arguments that also apply here,” Lee answered: “When you are in an investing business, you have all sorts of risks, from regulatory to financing. And these risks are no different. They’re peculiar or particular to this industry. But we are well experienced in terms of managing through and working with our management teams to try to get to great outcomes.”

Pointing to a tweet by Senator Elizabeth Warren which suggested that Swift is “one of many whose work has been threatened by a private equity firm,” Lee was asked if private equity gets a bad rap to which he agreed. “I do think private equity is a misunderstood industry. We have an enormous value-added function in the economy because of the returns that we are providing to first responders, teachers, folks in unions. And we provide the returns that enable these people, grandmothers, grandfathers, to retire comfortably. And that’s a little bit understood, but what’s really not really understood is the role that we play in our companies. But it is darn value-added. And I think that story is probably something that needs to be better communicated.”

Lee was also asked about the trade war with China, to which he answered:  I think we are in a period of time where construction engagement is going to be needed, maybe on a multilateral basis, to find fair standards that work for international — on an international standards basis, where we have healthy competition, where we have free flow capitol and smart regulations, so that these ecosystems can learn to coexist and mutually prosper.”

Lee also touted the cultural changes that have been made at Carlyle since he came in a CEO two years ago. “We have made huge strides in pushing diversity and division,” he said. “We’re already one of the leaders in diversity, with almost half of our assets are managed by women. 50% of our new employees are women. And, the essence of our business is to make great investment decisions.”

Watch the full interview below:

More Music

  • Harvey Mason Jr.., Chair of the

    Interim Grammy Chief Slams Deborah Dugan in Letter; Warns of ‘Misinformation,' 'Leaks'

    As the war of words between the Recording Academy and ousted president/CEO Deborah Dugan continues to escalate, interim boss Harvey Mason Jr. today issued a statement to the Academy’s membership about Dugan’s alleged misconduct and warned about “leaks and misinformation.” The letter claims that Dugan’s attorney Bryan Freedman sought “millions of dollars” for his client [...]

  • Mac Miller, Ariana GrandeAriana Grande in

    Mac Miller Producer 'Believes' That's Ariana Grande's Voice on New Album

    Since Mac Miller’s posthumous album, “Circles,” came out Friday, many fans have been convinced they heard Ariana Grande’s voice on the track “I Can See.” The late rapper’s reps responded to queries with a “no comment.” Now, his ex-girlfriend’s vocal cameo has been confirmed — or equivocally confirmed, at least — by the record’s producer, [...]

  • Mura Masa’s 'R.Y.C.': Album Review

    Mura Masa’s 'R.Y.C.': Album Review

    With his 2017 self-titled debut album, Mura Masa — a.k.a. 23-year-old Channel Islands spawn Alex Crossan — was nominated for two Grammys, including Best Dance Album, and later won one for his remix of Haim’s “Walking Away.” Guests on the album ranged from A$AP Rocky and Charli XCX to Blur/Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn and Desiigner. [...]

  • Recording Academy President/CEO Deborah Dugan participates

    Executive Assistant Preparing Lawsuit Against Ousted Grammy Chief

    In the latest twist in the increasingly bitter exit of Deborah Dugan from the Recording Academy after just five months, the ousted president/CEO is about to face a lawsuit from her former assistant, Claudine Little, who has retained former Harvey Weinstein/ Charlie Walk attorney Patty Glaser to represent her, two sources tell Variety. The news was [...]

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm

    'Curb Your Enthusiasm' Music: How the Italian Tuba March Found Its Way to Larry David

    When “Curb Your Enthusiasm” returns for its much-anticipated 10th season it does so with it a musical theme that’s a prime example of recognizable sonic branding and has become synonymous with comedy in our complicated times: “Frolic” by composer Luciano Michelini. But surprisingly, this comic march for tuba, mandolin and piano wasn’t specifically written for [...]

  • Kacey Musgraves, from left, Reba McEntire,

    How a Twitter Joke About Women on Country Radio Reignited a Firestorm (Column)

    Do you remember the classic Bee Gees song that goes, “I started a joke… that started the whole world crying”? (It’s okay if you don’t.) That’s how I felt this week after realizing that a sarcastic tweet I’d typed out in a half-minute at a stoplight led to a social media firestorm, then a tempest of [...]

  • Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlile backstageAmericana

    Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlile Set as Dynamic Duo for Grammys

    Country legend Tanya Tucker and her producer, Brandi Carlile, will perform together on the Grammys  in one week, both singers announced on their respective social media accounts Sunday. Wrote Carlile: “Let’s. do. this.” (One of the first responses on Carlile’s Instagram came from a fellow Seattle musician, Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron: “Hell yes!”) “I wanted you [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content