The tempest in a tea cup that took over the news cycle on Sunday continues into the holiday week, as Taylor Swift supporters like Haim and Allesia Cara add their name to the social media squad, while Scooter Braun defenders include clients Demi Lovato and Justin Bieber.
Braun’s SB Projects is home to such artists as Ariana Grande, Martin Garrix, Tori Kelly, Dan + Shay, Carly Rae Jepsen and Karlie Kloss, among others.
Will Grande join in the chorus? “She’s frustrated by the whole thing,” says a source, who suggests that Grande wants to speak out but Braun “is encouraging all of his acts to stay out of it.” Braun himself is staying quiet in an effort to diffuse further provocation and avoiding any social media endorsements to the contrary.
But the same can’t be said for association like Grande manager and SB Projects partner Allison Kaye, who posted a message on Sunday backing up Braun’s wife Yael Cohen Braun, who insiders say was prompted to go public out of concern for her kids’ safety. The Brauns are said to be “shocked and horrified” at the hate being directed at them from Swift fans and supporters, including former management client Todrick Hall, who appears in Swift’s latest video for the song “You Need to Calm Down.”
It’s advice all could stand to take and when cooler heads do eventually prevail and the various parties come to the table. “It’s inevitable that’s what will happen,” says an insider close to the situation. “There are shareholders, a board and a conversation to be had.”
But for now, Braun is the custodian of her masters and very much in the driver’s seat as it concerns the business dealings of Big Machine. His attempts to reach Swift directly have so far been fruitless.
As Variety previously reported, Swift went public shortly after Big Machine’s acquisition by Ithaca Holdings was announced, writing on Tumblr: “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.”
Borchetta, the founder of Big Machine Label Group, fired back at Swift for insinuating that she was not able to purchase back rights to her master recordings, posting documents that may refute Swift’s claim that she was only offered the rights to each of her previous six albums one at a time, as she turned in new albums to Big Machine, although Borchetta’s documentation is not complete.
For her part, Swift’s camp has remained relatively quiet outside of trying to distance her father, Scott Swift, from claims that he had knowledge of a Big Machine shareholder vote that took place on June 25 and was ratified three days later. At the same time, multiple sources contend that Scott Swift instead had a proxy included in a conference call between Big Machine shareholders last Tuesday.
A spokesperson for Swift responded to the suggestion denying that Swift’s father is even on the board, and saying that he deliberately stayed off the June 25 shareholder call for legal reasons.
“Scott Swift is not on the board of directors and has never been,” said the spokesperson. “On June 25, there was a shareholder phone call that Scott Swift did not participate in, due to a very strict NDA that bound all shareholders and prohibited any discussion at all without risk of severe penalty. Her dad did not join that call because he did not want to be required to withhold any information from his own daughter. Taylor found out from the news articles when she woke up before seeing any text from Scott Borchetta, and he did not call her in advance.”
Borchetta himself says he sent personally sent Swift a text message on Saturday, the night before news broke, that read, in part:
“I am entering into a merger/acquisition with Scooter Braun and Ithaca Holdings. This move will give us more pop culture super-power than ever before and I’m so excited about the future. … I want you to know that I will continue to be the proud custodian of your previous works and will continue to keep you and your team abreast of all future plans for releases of your work.”
For more answers to burning questions related to this story, read Variety‘s Sunday analysis.