News broke Sunday morning that Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings has agreed to acquire Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group in a huge industry deal. This new acquisition means Braun now owns the rights to all of the music Taylor Swift has previously recorded. Taylor penned a melancholy letter expressing her disappointment in the recent deal on her Tumblr page. In the letter, she outlines her experience with Braun and Borchetta, saying she had been “bullied.”
Taylor added a photo of an Instagram post by Justin Bieber, which appears to be a screenshot of a FaceTime call between Braun, Bieber, and Kanye West. Taylor circled Braun’s face in red and wrote, “This is Scooter Braun, bullying me on social media when I was at my lowest point. He’s about to own all the music I’ve ever made.”
Taylor began the letter by saying she has spent many years trying to acquire the rights to her own 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. 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.”
The pop star explained she had not been warned of the acquisition, but had found out about it online along with everyone else.
She said the news reminded her of his “incessant, manipulative bullying.”
“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.”
She then referenced previous drama when Kim Kardashian leaked a recording of Kanye West telling Taylor he had a verse about her in his song “Famous.”
“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.”
Taylor said she didn’t realize the implications of her contract which she had signed at just 15-years-old.
“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.”
The “You Need To Calm Down” singer mentioned she has since left Big Machine Records and is happy with her new label, Universal Music Group.
“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.”
Taylor ended her letter by reminding fans of her upcoming release. “I will always be proud of my past work. But for a healthier option, Lover will be out August 23.” She signed the letter with “Sad and grossed out, Taylor” and an emoji of a broken heart.
Billboard reported Big Machine Records grossed between $80 million to $120 million over the last four years alone. Braun currently works with Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, J. Balvin, and Demi Lovato.