It has been an ongoing and public war between Taylor Swift and her former record label, Big Machine Record’s chief, Scooter Braun. Taylor Swift recorded her first six albums, namely ‘Taylor Swift,’ ‘Fearless,’ ‘Speak Now,’ ‘Red,’ ‘1989,’ and ‘Reputation‘ with Big Machine Records in a span of 11 years. However, both parties did not end their relationship on very good terms as Taylor Swift could not buy back her masters from the record label after she signed up with Republic Records under Universal Music Group (UMG) in 2019.
Today, Taylor Swift went on social media to shed some light on the situation now. She reported that Scooter Braun has now sold Taylor’s masters, videos, and album artworks to a private equity company named Shamrock Holdings. However, matters are way worse than it seems.
Scooter Braun had warned Shamrock Holdings not to inform Taylor Swift of the sale or the deal would be off. And Taylor claims that this is the second time her own music was sold to some party without her knowledge. The first instance was when Big Machine Records was bought over by Ithica Holdings owned by Scooter Braun.
Although Taylor Swift does not mention a monetary value of the deal, Variety Magazine reports that the sale to Shamrock Holdings was “north of $300 million and closed in the last two weeks.”
However, there is no chance of Taylor Swift finding closure with Shamrock Holdings as she finds out that the deal between Scooter Braun and Shamrock Holdings will still profit Scooter Braun from Taylor’s music catalog. Taylor Swift claims that she wants to have no part in such an arrangement. Taylor Swift attached her correspondence with Shamrock Holdings regarding this too.
Even worse is Taylor’s claims that attempts to come into any mutual agreements with Scooter Braun were met with strict Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) to stop Taylor Swift from speaking anything negative about Scooter Braun. As per Taylor’s lawyers, this is not the normal process during a normal agreement process. This is effectively Scooter Braun trying to silence Taylor Swift, which she will not stand for!
Taylor Swift is Re-recording Her Old Masters
However, it’s not all bad news for Taylor Swift and her fans. In the same post, Taylor Swift mentions that she is re-recording her music catalog in question. She also says that it has been both an “exciting and creatively fulfilling” experience. She also claims that there are “plenty of surprises in store” to come.
As of November 2020, Taylor Swift is free to re-record her music from her first five albums. Each album likely has a certain period of years before Taylor can re-record them.
Taylor Swift has released re-records of the ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ album so far and has announced the ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)‘ album.
Taylor Swift’s Masters vs Re-records
A song recording earns revenue via several modes: streaming and consumption, sampling, public broadcast, use in television, film, and commercials. As of now, Taylor’s first five albums earn revenue through these modes and goes to the owner of them, which is Shamrock Holdings as of now. This is a considerably large chunk of Taylor’s discography considering she only has two other albums with her new record label Republic.
However, Taylor has the opportunity to re-record her old songs and make sure that these new records are being sold, streamed, and used in advertising. This will direct the revenues of her music to the rightful owner, Taylor Swift.
So, we will look forward to a brand new era by Taylor Swift re-surfacing her old material. Taylor Swift is positive that she will keep on cruising, and so shall we, with her!
Scooter Braun Says Taylor’s Claims are “not based on anything factual”
Scooter Braun appeared on the cover of Variety magazine in June 2021, titled ‘Scooter Braun Speaks: The Music Mogul on His Billion-Dollar HYBE Deal, Making Peace With the Past and the Road Ahead.’ In this interview, Scooter Braun spoke about his team opening up negotiations with Taylor Swift to sell her catalog to her, but her not showing up for discussions.
I regret and it makes me sad that Taylor had that reaction to the deal. … All of what happened has been very confusing and not based on anything factual. I don’t know what story she was told. I asked for her to sit down with me several times, but she refused. I offered to sell her the catalog back and went under NDA, but her team refused. It all seems very unfortunate. Open communication is important and can lead to understanding. She and I only met briefly three or four times in the past, and all our interactions were really friendly and kind. I find her to be an incredibly talented artist and wish her nothing but the best.
Braun also spoke about being called a ‘bully’ by Taylor Swift;
The thing that struck me the worst is the word “bully.” I’m firmly against anyone ever being bullied. I always try to lead with appreciation and understanding. The one thing I’m proudest of in that moment was that my artists and team stood by me. They know my character and my truth. That meant a lot to me. In the long run, I’m happy for my life’s work to be the legacy I leave behind.