Taylor Swift is telling her side of the story when it comes to Scooter Braun selling her masters for more than $300 million.
On Monday, Variety reported that Braun had sold the rights to the singer’s first six albums to an investment fund. According to the report, Braun’s Ithaca Holdings LLC closed the deal in the last two weeks and is receiving over $300 million for Swift’s first six albums, spanning from 2006’s Taylor Swift through 2016’s Reputation.
In a note to her fans on Monday, Swift claimed that her team attempted to enter into negotiations with Braun for her masters over the past year, but that he wanted her to sign an ironclad NDA stating that she would never say another word about him unless it was positive before they could even look at any financial records.
“So I would have to sign a document that would silence me forever before I could even have a chance to bid on my own work,” she wrote. “My legal team said that this is absolutely NOT normal, and they’ve never seen an NDA like this presented unless it was to silence an assault accuser by paying them off. He would never even quote my team a price. These master recordings were not for sale to me.”
She shared that a private equity company called Shamrock Holdings now owns her masters, and she claimed that they told her that although they wanted to reach out before the sale to let her know, Braun had required them to make no contact with her or her team. She said that she stopped communication with Shamrock after she learned that under their terms, Braun would continue to profit off her old music catalog for many years.
“I was hopeful and open to the possibility of a partnership with Shamrock, but Scooter’s participation is a non-starter for me,” she wrote.
Swift said she has already begun re-recording her older music. She also shared the letter she says she sent to Shamrock about her masters, which states that Braun’s participation makes it impossible for her to partner with them in any way.
Reps for Braun have not replied to ET’s request for comment.
Been getting a lot of questions about the recent sale of my old masters. I hope this clears things up. pic.twitter.com/sscKXp2ibD
Swift made headlines when she called out Braun in June 2019 when his company bought the Big Machine record label and all of its recorded music assets for a reported $300 million. Doing so gave Braun the rights to Swift’s master recordings that were made prior to her exit from the label in 2018. After news broke, Swift publicly slammed the deal on Tumblr, claiming that she wasn’t told about Braun’s purchase before it became public and was never given a chance to buy her music.
“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,” she wrote in part, before referencing Scott Borchetta, who founded Big Machine.
“I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future,” she wrote.
Swift went on to claim that she received “incessant, manipulative bullying” from Braun over the years — which she alleged Borchetta knew about — and criticized Borchetta’s decision to work with Braun in order to control “a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them.”
Borchetta fired back shortly after, claiming that Swift was given the opportunity to buy her music and alleging that he personally texted her about the deal before it was made public. He also noted that Swift’s father, Scott Swift, is a shareholder at the record label and alleged that he was thus made aware of the sale five days before it was announced, but Swift stood by her statement.
“Scott Swift is not on the board of directors and has never been,” a rep for Swift told ET at the time. “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,” the statement continued.
The “Betty” singer later sat down for an interview with CBS Sunday Morning and revealed that she “absolutely” plans to rerecord her early music, and then elaborated on those plans in an interview with Good Morning America.
“It’s something that I’m very excited about doing because my contract says that starting November 2020, so next year, I can record albums one through five all over again,” she said. “I’m very excited about it. I just think that artists deserve to own their own work. I just feel very passionately about that.”
But the drama didn’t end there. Last November, Braun called out Swift on Instagram after he said his family received death threats following Swift’s claim that Borchetta and Braun were blocking her from performing her older songs at the 2019 American Music Awards and preventing the release of her Netflix documentary, Miss Americana. After back-and-forth statements, Big Machine said they’d reached an agreement to allow Swift to perform her songs at the AMAs.
“At this point with safety becoming a concern I have no choice other than to publicly ask for us to come together and try to find a resolution,” Braun wrote in part. “I have tried repeatedly through your representatives to achieve a solution but unfortunately here we are. This game of telephone isn’t working.”
“I have spent my entire career in service of creatives and artists, never the other way around,” he added at the time.
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