Scooter Braun Bought Big Machine Label Group, and Taylor Swift Is NOT Happy About It
Celebrity talent manager Scooter Braun is buying Big Machine Label Group from the Nashville-based record label's founder and CEO, Scott Borchetta, it was announced on Sunday morning (June 30), and Taylor Swift is not happy about the decision. In fact, the former BMLG artist writes in a Tumblr post, the sale is her "worst case scenario."
Although Swift signed with Universal Music Group's Republic Records in November after her deal with Big Machine ended with her 2017 album Reputation, the label still owns the rights to her first six albums. After the news of BMLG's sale was announced, Swift posted to Tumblr a note explaining that she, "for years," had "pleaded for a chance to own my work" that she created while signed to BMLG; instead, she writes, "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."
"When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them," Swift continues. However, she says, "[n]ever 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," Swift admits, citing what she calls "incessant, manipulative bullying" of her by Braun. Braun's management clients include Kanye West, with whom Swift has a long-standing feud, and Justin Bieber, whom Swift says "bull[ied] me online" after West's wife, Kim Kardashian, shared "an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call" between West and Swift.
"Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy," writes Swift, noting that she only found out about the sale of BMLG to Braun when the general public did. "Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it."
"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," Swift writes. Later, she adds, "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."
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According to Billboard, Braun's Ithaca Holdings is paying upwards of $300 million for both Big Machine Label Group and its music publishing arm, Big Machine Music. Borchetta -- who founded BMLG in 2005 and has been discussing selling the label for a few years now -- will remain in place as BMLG's president and CEO; he will also join the board of Ithaca Holdings and acquire a minority interest in that company.
"Scooter and I have been aligned with ‘big vision brings big results’ from the very first time we met in 2010 ... Our artist-first spirit and combined roster of talent, executives and assets is now a global force to be reckoned with," says Borchetta. Adds Braun, "[Scott has] built a brilliant company full of iconic songs and artists. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? By joining together, we will create more opportunities for artists than ever before, by giving them the support and tools to go after whatever dreams they wish to pursue."
Currently, BMLG's roster includes Florida Georgia Line, Brantley Gilbert, Lady Antebellum, Midland, Carly Pearce and many others. The group's labels include Big Machine Records, the Valory Music Co., BMLG Records and John Varvatos Records.
In addition to BMLG and Big Machine Music, Braun's Ithaca Holdings also includes Schoolboy Records, home to pop artists Carly Rae Jepsen, Tori Kelly and more; Sheba Publishing, with which Daniel Bedingfield, Todrick Hall and more are affiliated; and Atlas Music Publishing, whose artists include, among others, Brandi Carlile. SB Projects, his talent management company, boasts the Zac Brown Band, Dan + Shay, Ariana Grande and many others as clients.
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