Taylor Swift’s Attorney Issues Statement About Big Machine Label Group Sale
Taylor Swift's attorney, Don Passman, has issued a statement regarding the sale of her former record label, Big Machine Label Group, and the country-turned-pop superstar's Tumblr post criticizing the move. Swift, according to her lawyer's statement, was never offered the opportunity to purchase, with money, either her master recordings or the record label as a whole.
"[Big Machine Label Group founder] Scott Borchetta never gave Taylor Swift an opportunity to purchase her masters, or the label, outright with a check in the way he is now apparently doing for others," Passman said in a statement released on Tuesday (July 2) (quote via Billboard).
Passman's statement clarifies conflicting claims from Swift and Borchetta about the potential transfer of Swift's masters from Big Machine to the artist herself. After the sale of BMLG to celebrity talent manager Scooter Braun was revealed on Sunday (June 30), Swift stated in a Tumblr post that she had been asking for the opportunity to purchase the masters to the six albums she released with Big Machine "for years," but was never given the chance. 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."
In a blog of his own, Borchetta disputes Swift's account of these events, citing text messages between the two and a look at the deal BMLG offered Swift to re-sign with the label. Per that document, Swift would have been given ownership of all assets related to her career, both from the past and future, if she signed to the label for 10 years. "We were working together on a new type of deal for our new streaming world that was not necessarily tied to ‘albums’ but more of a length of time," Borchetta explains in his post.
Borchetta also cites what he says is a message from Swift to him on the morning of Nov. 19, the day her new record deal with Universal Music Group's Republic Records was announced. In the note, Swift explains, "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."
Taylor Swift Through the Years
Passman's statement is the latest move in a highly public war of words that started with the reveal of the sale of Big Machine Label Group and and Big Machine Music, its music publishing arm, to Braun's Ithaca Holdings, which encompasses his talent management company SB Projects, Schoolboy Records, Sheba Publishing and Atlas Music Publishing, among other endeavors. Ithaca Holdings is reportedly paying upwards of $300 million for BMLG and 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, will join the board of Ithaca Holdings and will acquire a minority interest in that company.
In her Tumblr post, Swift decries the sale of her former label home to Braun, whom she claims bullied her via his clients, specifically Justin Bieber and rapper Kanye West, with whom Swift has a long-standing feud. She also alleges that she only found out about the label's sale when it was announced to the general public. Borchetta refutes both of those statements in his post, sharing what he says is a text message that he sent to Swift the night before the sale was announced, and claiming that Braun, whom Borchetta considers a friend, has been a champion of Swift.
"Scooter was never anything but positive about Taylor," Borchetta writes. "Scooter has always been and will continue to be a supporter and honest custodian for Taylor and her music."
Numerous celebrities have spoken out in support of either Swift or Borchetta and Braun, including Bieber himself. Braun's wife, Yael Cohen Braun, also criticized Swift's statement via Instagram, and offered to speak with her privately about her concerns.
WATCH: Country Music's Most Heated Feuds
Taylor Swift's Best Live Shots