Why Taylor Swift Didn’t Know Her Music Was Being Sold to Scooter Braun
Taylor Swift says she learned about the sale of Big Machine Label Group — and thus, her catalog of songs — to Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings when she saw it in the news on Sunday morning (June 30) and her rep explained why.
You're likely only ankle-deep in this drama pool. The news broke via the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, and Swift responded with a scathing post a few hours later. Then, BMLG founder Scott Borchetta used his company's official website to dispute her allegations that she never had a fair chance to buy her masters back and that she had no idea the sale was coming.
Variety clears up at least one of the mysteries and offers theories about what might come next. The website nabbed a comment from a spokesperson for Swift who explained why her father, Scott Swift, didn't know about the sale despite being invited to a shareholders' conference call on June 25. In his post, Borchetta notes Scott Swift as one of several people who could have leaked the news to the pop-country superstar.
On June 25, there was a shareholder phone call that Scott Swift did not participate in, due to a very strict NDA (nondisclosure agreement) 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.
This note confirms a text was sent on Saturday, as Borchetta claims. He even went as far as to share the contents of his text message, as well as hers to him on November 19, 2018, when she was about to announce she was signing with UMG and not Big Machine Label Group.
First, here is Swift's, per Borchetta (Swift's team has not commented on the text exchange):
I hope this finds you well. Since communication ran dry on our negotiations, I’ve done what I told you I would do and gone out exploring other options. Owning my masters was very important to me, but I’ve since realized that there are things that mean even more to me in the bigger picture. I had a choice whether to bet on my past or to bet on the future and I think knowing me, you can guess which one I chose. I also saw a rare opportunity to effect positive change for a lot of other artists with the leverage I have right now. I know you believe in the same things I do and I’d like to think you would be proud of what I’ve negotiated for in my deal. I wanted to tell you first that I’ll be signing with Lucian. I honestly truly cherish everything you and I have built together and I plan on saying so in my announcement of the new deal. What we accomplished together will be a lasting legacy and a case study on excellent partnerships, and may it continue. I still view you as a partner and friend and I hope you feel the same. Sending you a hug and my most sincere gratitude.
And SO much love,
Hope all is well and congratulations on the success of your first two singles from “Lover”!
I can’t wait to hear the entire album…
I wanted to pass along to you the same courtesy that you passed along to me in regard to my future.
Tomorrow morning (Sunday, June 30th) at 10a central, the Wall Street Journal will announce that 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 you work.
Nothing but the best,
Variety also includes contentious comments from associates of both parties that dispute how many opportunities she had to buy her masters, as well as if she could have just bought Big Machine herself and how involved Braun was in the 'bullying' on social media. It's complicated and filled with accusations, and it's likely to continue.
A curious scenario mentioned at the end has Braun selling Swift her masters at the end of the day, but Variety only lists "Braun supporters" as the source for that idea.
Essential 2000s Country Songs? Taylor Swift Has a Few: