MANILA, Philippines – American pop star Taylor Swift on Monday, July 1 (Sunday, June 30 in the United States), accused entertainment mogul Scooter Braun of "manipulative bullying" for years, as he acquired the rights to her music after purchasing Big Machine Records.
Big Machine Records is Taylor's former music label and owns the rights to her entire catalogue from 2006's Taylor Swift to 2017's Reputation. Braun's purchase of the label means he now owns the rights to her music. Braun also manages the careers of several big names in pop music – Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Carly Rae Jepsen, to name a few.
"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," Taylor said in a post on her tumblr page.
She claimed that she only learned of Braun's purchase through news reports. Braun's wife had said dismissed the claim as untrue.
"All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years," said Taylor.
"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," she added, referencing to the controversial "Famous" music video which featured a naked Taylor Swift look-a-like.
The "two clients" Swift was referring to were Bieber and West.
"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."
"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," she said.
"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," she added.
Swift has since signed with the Universal Music Group and now owns the masters of all her songs. She then promoted her coming album, Lover.
"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," she said.
Swift first rose to fame in the 2000s and hasn't looked back since. Her latest drop, "You Need To Calm Down," was an overt celebration of Pride – although it didn't exactly sit well with some quarters. – Rappler.com