Producer in Taylor Swift Feud Makes Millions Off Her

Scooter Braun just sold off her Big Machine masters
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2020 4:30 AM CST
Producer in Taylor Swift Feud Sells Her Masters
Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards in Newark, N.J. on Aug. 26, 2019.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Taylor Swift claimed Scooter Braun was holding her first six albums hostage—and now the producer is making big bucks off them. Braun, whose Ithaca Holdings LLC acquired Big Machine Label Groups and its assets—including the masters of those first half-dozen Swift albums—last year, has now sold the rights to those masters to an investment fund, per Variety. Insiders say the deal is definitely worth more than $300 million, possibly as much as $450 million, and the magazine says it's seen as a "big win" for Braun. In a lengthy statement, Swift says she tried to buy the masters herself, but Braun would only agree if she would first sign an "ironclad NDA" promising to never say anything negative about him in the future. She also says Braun will continue to profit off the songs for years to come. Swift has promised to re-record the albums in question, and the magazine notes she is free to do so with the first five as of this month.

Master recordings earn money in all sorts of ways, including from streaming, consumption, broadcast, and use in media; if Swift re-records the songs in question, she could aim to ensure her new versions are the ones used in those avenues instead, and she says she has already started that process. "This just happened to me without my approval, consultation or consent," she said in response to the master sale. "After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright, my entire catalog was sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in a deal that I’m told was funded by the Soros family, 23 Capital and that Carlyle Group. Yet, to this day, none of these investors have bothered to contact me or my team directly—to perform their due diligence on their investment. On their investment in me. ... The fact is that private equity enabled this man to think, according to his own social media post, that he could ‘buy me.’ But I’m obviously not going willingly." (Read more Taylor Swift stories.)

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