Over the weekend, it was announced that Taylor Swift's former record label home Big Machine Records was sold to Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings for 300 million dollars. With Taylor now on Universal, it may not appear as though it was that big of a deal to Taylor... except it is a big deal because Big Machine still owned Taylor's music that she recorded while on that label. The news didn't sit well with Taylor and she penned an open letter on Tumblr that read:
"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 will be out August 23.
Sad and grossed out,
As you can imagine, Taylor Swift fans took to all all forms of social media and Facebooked, Tweeted, Instagrammed, etc. love and support for Taylor or disdain for the situation. And then there were the ones that came to the defense of Scooter Braun, including Justin Bieber. It's important to note that Taylor's Tumblr post included a screenshot from Justin's Instagram from a post dating back to an unseen date, and it's also important to note that Scooter is Justin Bieber's manager.
"Hey Taylor. First of all i would like to apologize for posting that hurtful instagram post, at the time i thought it was funny but looking back it was distasteful and insensitive.. I have to be honest though it was my caption and post that I screenshoted of scooter and Kanye that said “taylor swift what up” he didnt have anything to do with it and it wasnt even a part of the conversation in all actuality he was the person who told me not to joke like that.. Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you.! As the years have passed we haven’t crossed paths and gotten to communicate our differences, hurts or frustrations. So for you to take it to social media and get people to hate on scooter isn’t fair. What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? seems to me like it was to get sympathy u also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully scooter. Anyway, One thing i know is both scooter and i love you. I feel like the only way to resolve conflict is through communication. So banter back and fourth online i dont believe solves anything. I’m sure Scooter and i would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain or or any feelings that need to be addressed. Neither scooter or i have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you. I usually don’t rebuttal things like this but when you try and deface someone i loves character thats crossing a line.."
Scooter Braun's wife Yael also came to Scooter's defense, telling a different story than the one Taylor posted. Her Instagram read:
"I have never been one for a public airing of laundry, but when you go attack my husband...here we go. Let's start with @taylorswift, whoa. Then let's get facts straight. You were given the opportunity to own your masters, you passed. Interesting that the man you're "grossed out" by believed in you more than you believe in yourself. Your dad is a shareholder and was notified, and Borchetta personally told you before this came out. So no, you didn't find out with the world. And girl, who are you to talk about bullying? The world has watched you collect and drop friends like wilted flowers. My husband is anything but a bully, he's spent his life standing up for people and causes he believes in...
Beyond that, it's easy to see that the point of putting this out was to get people to bully him. You are supposed to be a role model, but continue to model bullying. He's a manager, not God. He cannot control the actions of other humans, even ones he manages. Don't blame him because Kim caught you in a lie, it's embarrassing I know-but adults own up to their mistakes. We learn and grow from them, we don't divert blame and blur the lines of reality to suit our needs. What you haven't seen is what happens behind closed doors, when he has supported and stood up for you. When he has challenged his clients to be kind or be quiet. When he has reached an olive branch out to you on numerous occasions.
Scott (Scooter) was so excited to work and build with you. How embarrassing this temper tantrum is because you didn't get your own way. He believes in and supports you, I sincerely hope you can learn to love and believe in yourself the way my husband does. Lastly, if you think he can control his clients, please control your fans. Leave our personal life and kids out of this. You don't understand yet what line that crosses, but one day you will. And I hope you have the dignity, class and kindness to leave your fans out of this and have an open discussion. Tumblr can't fix this, a phone call can."
It should be interesting to see how this all plays out in the coming days, weeks, months. I certainly hope that everyone involved can come to an amicable resolution.