She’s speaking out. On Sunday, June 30, Taylor Swift released a lengthy statement in response to the news that her former record label, Scott Borchetta‘s Big Machine Label Group, had been sold to Hollywood music executive Scooter Braun for more than $300 million — which also included the pop star’s entire music catalog.
“For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work,” the 29-year-old wrote in her statement on Tumblr. “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. 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.”
Borchetta, 56, first signed Taylor when she was just 15 years old. She would go on to become the biggest act on the Big Machine Label’s roster, and all of the music on her iconic albums that she released throughout her career — from her 2006 self-titled debut to 2012’s Red, 2014’s 1989 and 2018’s Reputation — was owned by the label. When it was sold to Scooter — who manages mega pop stars like Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato — he became the owner of Taylor’s creative work.
But the “ME!” singer was unhappy that Scooter, 38, was involved in the deal and she accused him of “bullying” her in the past. “I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years,” Taylor wrote. “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. 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.”
“This is my worst case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at 15 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,” Taylor continued.
But she ended her statement on a positive note, pointing out that her new label values her work as an artist and allows her to be the rightful owner of her art. She explained that she wanted to be transparent about the situation in order to warn other artists, especially artists as young as she was when she signed her contract, against signing paperwork that will strip them of ownership of their music. She also reminded fans that her newest album, Lover, is due out on August 23, before signing off: “Sad and grossed out, 💔Taylor.”
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