Catalog cover

Scooter Braun says he ‘regrets’ how Taylor Swift catalog acquisition was handled

As has been well documented, Scooter Braun’s 2018 acquisition of Big Machine Music Group — and the rights to Taylor Swift’s first six albums — has sparked some controversy. Swift – who had tried, unsuccessfully, to acquire the rights herself – was outraged, saying she had been blindsided by the deal and not only starting a global dialogue about which artists own the rights to their work, but sticking to the new owners to launch a campaign to re-record all these albums and encourage his fans to broadcast the new “Taylor versions” instead of the previous ones; two of these albums were released with great success. She had few kind words for Braun in the process.

Braun suffered substantial wrath from the Swifties for a year and a half before selling the catalog (for a handsome profit) and said he tried to speak with the singer about the issue on several occasions after the sale finally came to light. , in vain. . He has since sold his own company to South Korean entertainment powerhouse HYBE (for an even bigger profit), and continues to run it and manage the careers of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and others.

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But in a new interview with NPR’s Jay Williams, he says he wishes things had been done differently – pointing a subtle finger at former Big Machine owner Scott Borchetta for the nondisclosure agreement. in which he says he was forced to work under – and says: “The regret I have there is that I assumed that everyone, once the deal was done, was going to have a conversation with me, seeing my intention, seeing my character and saying, great, let’s do business together.”

For her part, Swift said in a November 2020 social media post, “My team has attempted to enter into negotiations with Scooter Braun. The Scooter team wanted me to sign an ironclad NDA stating that I would never say another word about Scooter Braun again unless it was positive, before we could even look at BMLG’s financial records (which is still the first step in a purchase of this nature). So I would have to sign a document that would shut me up forever before I could even have a chance to bid on my own work. She said negotiations never started, due to strict NDA requirements. “He would never even quote my team a price. Those master recordings were not for sale to me,” she concluded.

Braun’s comments on the matter follow below; go here to read more about the interview. Contacted by Variety, a representative for Swift did not immediately comment.

“I learned an important lesson from [the Big Machine acquisition],” He begins. “When I made this deal, I was under a very strict NDA with the gentleman who owned it, and I couldn’t tell any artists. I wasn’t allowed to. I was not legally allowed to do so. What I told him was that if any of the artists want to come back and join this, you have to let me know. And he shared with me a letter that was made public that – you know, the artist you’re referring to said, “I don’t want to participate in my masters.” I decided, you know, not to do this deal, blah, blah, blah. So that was the idea I had.

“I was thrilled to work with all the artists on the label. So when we finalized the deal, I started making phone calls saying, hey, I’m a part of this. And before I even can do it, I made four phone calls I started making these phone calls – all hell broke loose so I think a lot of things got lost in translation I think when you have a conflict with someone, it’s very difficult to resolve it if you’re not willing to have a conversation.So the regret I have there is that I assumed that everyone, once the deal was done, was going to have a conversation with me, see my intent, see my character and say, great, let’s do business together. And I made that assumption with people I didn’t know.

“And I learned an important lesson from that, that I can never make that assumption again. I can’t put myself in a position of arrogance to think that someone would just be willing to have a conversation and be happy to work with me. I don’t know these people. So when I made the deal with HYBE, I took 50 million of my own shares that I received, and gave them to my employees and to my artists. And that – I didn’t think it was going to go public, but it was a publicly traded company, so I can talk about it now because it was very widespread. And I made sure that everyone everyone participates in a meaningful way.Even employees who were no longer employees – you know Kenny.

“I called Kenny, and he’s a shareholder. I called Tommy Brown, who had produced stuff with me with Ariana, and he’s a shareholder. I called Poo Bear, who had done stuff with Justin and me, and, you know, he’s a shareholder. Justin and Ariana and Demi and J. Balvin and all those people, and they all became shareholders alongside all of our, you know, long-time key employees and former employees. And everybody felt good, you know, and they could sell the shares if they wanted to. It’s worth real money. But I wanted them to feel good because I learned that lesson. And I think in any conflict, you can say that I did nothing. It’s their fault. And you might be right. You might be justified. And you could say, it’s unfair, I’m being treated unfairly, or you can say, OK, I’m being treated unfairly. I don’t like how it does. I can’t solve this problem, so how am I going to watch it and learn from it? And I didn’t appreciate how it all happened. I thought that was unfair. But I also understand, on the other side, that they probably thought it was unfair too.

“So I chose to look at it as a lesson in learning, a lesson in growth, and I wish everyone involved good luck. And I encourage everyone to win because I don’t believe in the rooting for people to lose.

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