Taylor Swift, 29, closed out her Amazon Prime Day concert set with “Shake It Off,” and fans could not help but notice that she seemed to put a specific emphasis on certain words of the hit track. During the bridge, Taylor slowly shouted the lyrics, “While you’ve been getting down and out with all the LIARS and DIRTY, DIRTY CHEATS OF THE WORLD….” before continuing the song in its original form. The timing of her seemingly purposeful emphasis on these words was not lost upon fans: After all, it was just a week and a half ago that Taylor publicly called out Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun on social media, so people on Twitter are convinced that this was in reference to them.
In a Tumblr blog post on June 30, Taylor laid out her issues with Scott, the head of her former label, Big Machine, and Scooter, who purchased the company, including all of Taylor’s masters, for $300 million on June 30. Taylor explained that, before she left Big Machine in 2018, Scott made her a deal that would allow her to own the masters herself: For every subsequent album she put out, she would be able to earn back the rights to one of her previously released albums. Since she dropped six albums on Big Machine, that would require her to release six more albums on the label to earn back all of her music.
It was a deal that Taylor did not want to take, so she decided to leave Big Machine. She explained that she was aware that Scott would sell her masters one day, but was flabbergasted that he chose to do so to Scooter, who she described as a “manipulative bully.” Taylor called Scooter out for allowing his client, Kanye West, to use naked images of her in his “revenge porn” music video for “Famous.” She also said that Scooter took part in ‘bullying’ her by allowing another client, Justin Bieber, to post a screen shot of himself FaceTiming with Kanye and Scooter with a caption that taunted her.
— Taylor Swift News (@TSwiftNZ) July 11, 2019
Taylor said Scott knew how she felt about Scooter, which is why she was so shocked that he would sell her masters to him. “Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to,” she wrote. “He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them.” She also expressed her frustration about only finding out about the deal on the morning of June 30 — at the same time the news was announced to the public.
Celebrities began taking sides immediately after Taylor’s post went viral, and while Scooter never spoke out, Scott defended himself by writing his own post. He said that he had actually texted Taylor the night before to give her a heads up about the deal. However, her rep explained that Taylor read the news story about the deal “before seeing any texts from Scott Borchetta and he did not call her in advance.” Scott also claimed that he “never experienced” Taylor “being in tears or close to it” during conversations about Scooter. Additionally, Scott reiterated that “Taylor had every chance in the world to own not just her master recordings, but every video, photograph, everything associated to her career. She chose to leave.”
However, Taylor has made it CLEAR that her issue is with the stipulations she would have had to agree to in order to own her work (recording six new albums to earn back the six that were already released). “Scott Borchetta never gave Taylor Swift an opportunity to purchase her masters, or the label, outright with a check in the way he is now apparently doing for others,” Taylor’s lawyer, Donald Passman, said on July 2.
Since her initial blog post, Taylor has not commented on the situation, and is clearly focused on her future. Her new album, Lover, will be released on her new label, Universal Music Group, on August 23.