Taylor Swift‘s massive career got its start when Scott Borchetta signed her to Big Machine Records as a teenager, but that initial contract became extremely painful for the singer today. Scooter Braun acquired the company in a $300 million deal, according to The Wall Street Journal, meaning that he now holds the rights to Taylor’s entire catalogue up through her 2017 Reputation album. Taylor promptly took to her Tumblr account to reveal how “sad and grossed out” she feels about the entire situation.
“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,” she revealed in a passionate post. “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.” In Nov. 2018, Taylor left Big Machine Records and signed a deal with Universal Music Group, under which she will release her upcoming album Lover, which contains the two lead singles “ME!” and “You Need To Calm Down.”
The “Delicate” hitmaker went on to reveal that she only learned about the deal when the news broke publicly. “All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years,” she said, before diving into some accusations of how he was involved in her feud with Kim Kardashian and his client Kanye West. “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.” The post was attached to an image from Aug. 2016 of Kanye with Scooter FaceTiming Justin Bieber, who captioned the image “Taylor swift what up.” She circled Scooter in the picture and added the comment, “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 continued by referencing Kanye’s “Famous” music video. “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,” she said. “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.”
Although Taylor was aware that leaving Big Machine Records would mean she’d lose the rights to her first six albums – Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, and Reputation – she revealed why selling them to Scooter was a major betrayal on Scott’s part. “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 explained.
The 10-time Grammy winner ended the emotional message with a glimmer of hope. “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, adding, “I will always be proud of my past work. But for a healthier option, Lover will be out August 23.” She signed the letter, “Sad and grossed out, Taylor.”
HollywoodLife reached out to Scooter Braun, Scott Borchetta and Taylor Swift’s representative for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.