Taylor Swift’s album masters have been sold without her knowledge (again) and she has thoughts
It seems that both Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun are still holding grudges after their last run of drama.
Taylor Swift has spoken out about her treatment by music manager Scooter Braun, following his sale of the master of her first six albums – Taylor Swift (2006), Fearless (2008), Speak Now (2010), Red (2012), 1989 (2014), and Reputation (2017) – without her knowledge.
Swift has been incredibly forthright about publicising their grievances, for which she has been criticised of creating drama and unnecessarily airing their dirty laundry. However, it seems Braun is equally out for blood, though in more conniving ways. He has refused to let an artist buy back her albums without including strings that will mean he continues to profit from her, and now it appears he has actively worked to keep her ignorant of his sale of her own masters.
In 2019, Braun bought Big Machine Records, Swift’s former record label and with it the masters of Swift’s first six albums for $300 million.
Swift had been in negotiations with Big Machine to buy back her masters, but they refused to sell them to her outright. Instead, they countered that if she resigned with them, she could buy back an album for every new album she recorded with them.
The singer/songwriter decided that her past catalogue was not worth tying her future career to the company. Instead, the label was sold to Scooter Braun, who Swift has claimed Braun bullied her and said she felt blindsided by the news that he would own all the music she had made.
After the sale, Swift continued trying to buy back her own masters from Braun but his team insisted on an NDA that would prevent Swift from ever speaking negatively about Braun again.
Swift took the drama public once again in 2019, when she announced that Braun was refusing to let her perform any of her old songs at the American Music Awards, where she was being presented with her the Artist of the Decade award. “They claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year,” she said in a Tweet at the time.
Don’t know what else to do pic.twitter.com/1uBrXwviTS
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 14, 2019
Recently, Braun sold on Big Machine and Swift’s masters, reportedly turning a profit on his $300 million investment in 2018. When Swift heard that Braun had sold Big Machine and with it, her masters, she was surprised as anyone to hear of the second sale. The new owners, Shamrock Holdings, sent her a letter to say that they had been banned from alerting her to the purchase by Braun’s team or the deal would be off.
“They had bought 100% of my music, videos, and album art from Scooter Braun… This was the second time my music has been sold without my knowledge,” the singer said on Twitter last night.
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
While she had hoped to work with Shamrock to finally buy back everything, part of the deal made with Braun was that he would continue to take a percentage of the profit from her masters for years to come. “Scooter’s participation is a non-starter for me,” she wrote in a letter sent to Shamrock Holdings.
Rerecording her masters
In her response to Shamrock, she thanked them for letting her know what had happened but also made clear that she has begun re-recording her first six albums, something she said before was “something I’m both legally allowed to do and looking forward to” doing.
Shamrock, for its part, appears to be #teamSwift, releasing a statement in support of her re-recording her masters. They told ENews! “we appreciate Taylor’s open communication and professionalism with us these last few weeks.”
Read more: Explainer: Here’s why the Taylor Swift / Scooter Braun feud has taken off
Read more: Jewellery entrepreneur Chupi shares her remarkable lockdown journey
Read more: The Crown: ‘It was extraordinary to dress all these iconic women’