Taylor Swift Responds After Scooter Braun Sells Her Masters To Investment Firm For $300M+
"My legal team said that this is absolutely NOT normal, and they’ve never seen an NDA like this presented unless it was to silence an assault accuser by paying them off."
Taylor Swift has posted an open letter to social media addressing the sale of her masters by Scooter Braun, saying she was never truly offered a chance to buy them herself.
Last year, after Swift left her label Big Machine Entertainment, the company and all its masters were sold to Braun — manager of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and many more. This meant he owned the original recordings of Swift’s first six albums — from Taylor Swift to reputation.
In response, Swift detailed her deep disappointment over both being locked out of the sale and the choice to sell them to Braun, a man she says has bullied her incessantly over the years. She called the sale to Braun the “worst-case scenario”.
Now, Braun has sold onwards Swift’s masters to an investment fund for more than $300 million, which is how much he bought Big Machine for as a whole (as first reported by Variety).
In a letter shared on social media, Swift says that when she attempted to negotiate buying back her masters from Braun, she was asked to sign an “ironclad NDA” promising she would “never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive” — a contract her legal team assured her was “NOT normal’. She didn’t go ahead with negotiations, saying they were never ‘really on sale’ to her.
Swift says she was subsequently approached by an investment fund called Shamrock Holdings ‘a few weeks ago’, letting her know they now owned ‘100 percent’ of her masters, album art and videos previously belonging to Braun.
She says that Shamrock claimed they were not ‘allowed’ to contact her or the ‘deal would be off’, and that while she began discussing buying back her music, she soon learnt that Braun would continue to profit under their terms — this, to Swift, is a “non-starter”.
On the plus side, Swift confirmed she has been re-recording her first five albums, which her contract allowed her to do beginning November 2020. Reputation, her sixth album and the last previously owned by Braun, will be eligible for re-recording in 2022. Fans suspected as much, celebrating the passed deadline on November 1, leading #TaylorIsFree to trend on Twitter.
Swift describes the process as “exciting and creatively fulfilling”.
“I have plenty of surprises in store,” she writes. “I want to thank you guys for supporting me through this ongoing saga, and I can’t wait for you to hear what I’ve been dreaming up.”
Swift also included the letter she sent Shamrock Holdings on October 28th “for transparency”. In it, she lets them know she will be re-recording her old music.
“I know it will diminish the value of my old masters,” she writes, “but I hope you will understand this is my only way of regaining the sense of pride I once had when hearing songs from my first six albums and also allowing fans to listen to those albums without feelings of guilt for benefitting Scooter.”
Since leaving Big Music, Swift has released two albums with Universal, Lover and folklore. Find her statement below.
Been getting a lot of questions about the recent sale of my old masters. I hope this clears things up. pic.twitter.com/sscKXp2ibD
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 16, 2020