In an emotionally fuelled Tumblr post published over the weekend, Taylor Swift responded to the news that her entire music catalogue has been sold to music and entertainment entrepreneur Scooter Braun.
Braun’s company, Ithaca Holdings, purchased and absorbed Swift’s former record label, Big Machine Records (BMLG), on Sunday. Swift parted ways with the label in November 2018. She was the company’s biggest artist.
Swift, 29, accused the 38-year-old mogul and a number of his clients of subjecting her to “incessant, manipulative bullying” over the course of years, adding that he has now additionally “stripped [her] of [her] life’s work,” claiming she never actually had the opportunity to purchase the rights to the music.
BMLG previously owned all rights to the master recordings and artwork for six of Swift’s studio albums dating all the way back to her 2006 debut release.
Taylor Swift in the You Need to Calm Down music video, which premiered on June 17, 2019.
Swift claimed that she only learned of the news once it was announced to the world. BMLG CEO Scott Borchetta suggested otherwise in an official statement.
“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,” wrote Borchetta.
Before the deal was set in stone, the Wildest Dreams singer was supposedly given an opportunity to rejoin BMLG, which was an independent label, and “earn” the rights to her albums, “one at a time, for every new one [she] turned in,” Swift claimed in her Tumblr post.
Swift wrote that she rejected the offer, revealing she was always afraid Borchetta would sell the dying label after she signed the supposed contract.
“This is my worst-case scenario,” she continued in the now-viral post. “This is what happens when you sign a deal at 15 to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept.”
Swift is now signed to Republic Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group (UMG). She’s set to release her seventh album, Lover, this summer.
Swift also included a screenshot of a since-deleted Instagram post made by Justin Bieber, who is one of Braun’s A-list clients, alongside Ariana Grande, Kanye West and many others.
The picture, originally posted by Bieber, 25, shows him on a FaceTime call with Braun, West and another individual. The Sorry singer wrote “Taylor Swift what up” as the caption.
“This is Scooter Braun bullying me on social media when I was at my lowest point,” she wrote, referring to the picture. “He’s about to own all the music I’ve ever made.”
Swift resurrected old beefs by also accusing West and his wife, Kim Kardashian, of “bullying” her in the past. West, 42, released the NSFW Famous music video in 2016, which Swift called “a revenge porn music video, which strips [her] body naked.”
Justin Bieber, flanked by Scooter Braun and Usher, pictured in December 2013.
The song’s lyrics read: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why, I made that b—- famous.” Swift claimed she never gave West permission to use her likeness and proceeded to accuse Kardashian, 38, of orchestrating “an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call to be leaked.”
The leaked phone call in question revealed an alleged Swift giving West permission to use her in the song and even called it a “compliment.”
In response to the name drops, Bieber took to Instagram once more to “apologize” to Swift and simultaneously defend Braun.
“First of all, I would like to apologize for posting that hurtful Instagram post. At the time I thought it was funny, but looking back it was distasteful and insensitive,” Bieber wrote.
“I have to be honest, though, it was my caption and post, [Scooter] didn’t have anything to do with it and it wasn’t even a part of the conversation.”
Hey Taylor. First of all i would like to apologize for posting that hurtful instagram post, at the time i thought it was funny but looking back it was distasteful and insensitive.. I have to be honest though it was my caption and post that I screenshoted of scooter and Kanye that said “taylor swift what up” he didnt have anything to do with it and it wasnt even a part of the conversation in all actuality he was the person who told me not to joke like that.. Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you.! As the years have passed we haven’t crossed paths and gotten to communicate our differences, hurts or frustrations. So for you to take it to social media and get people to hate on scooter isn’t fair. What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? seems to me like it was to get sympathy u also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully scooter. Anyway, One thing i know is both scooter and i love you. I feel like the only way to resolve conflict is through communication. So banter back and fourth online i dont believe solves anything. I’m sure Scooter and i would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain or or any feelings that need to be addressed. Neither scooter or i have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you. I usually don’t rebuttal things like this but when you try and deface someone i loves character thats crossing a line..
A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on
“In all actuality, he was the person who told me not to joke like that,” Bieber continued. “Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you!”
He continued: “Neither Scooter or I have anything negative to say about you. We truly want the best for you. I usually don’t rebuttal things like this, but when you try and deface someone I love’s character that’s crossing a line.”
Demi Lovato jumped in to show her support for Braun, too, via Instagram stories.
“I have dealt with bad people in this industry, and Scooter is not one of them,” Lovato wrote. “He’s a good man.”
Lovato added: “Personally, I’m grateful he came into my life when he did. Please stop ‘dragging’ people or bullying them. There’s enough hate in this world as it is.”
“Y’all can come after me all you want, but I’m always gonna stay loyal to my team,” Lovato wrote later in response to the backlash she received from some of Swift’s fans.
“I value loyalty more than most people in this world, and if my name is gonna be brought into conversations, I’m gonna stand up for myself and the ones on my team,” she said.
In the lengthy statement posted to BMLG’s website on Sunday, Borchetta insinuated that Swift actually knew that her former label was going to be sold off to Ithaca Holdings before she claimed she did.
He wrote: “I guess it might somehow be possible that [Swift’s] dad Scott [who was a shareholder of BMLG before it was sold off], 13 Management lawyer Jay Schaudies or 13 Management executive and Big Machine LLC shareholder Frank Bell didn’t say anything to Taylor over the prior five days.”
He continued: “I guess it’s possible that she might not have seen my text, but I truly doubt that she ‘woke up to the news when everyone else did.’”
Genuinely grateful for my new partner @scott.borchetta and the entire @bigmachinelabelgroup team. We together at Ithaca are going to do amazing things and our hope is to give every artist the tools they need to succeed in all arenas. Thank you again for the trust Scott. Let’s get it!
A post shared by Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) on
“We are an independent record company,” added Borchetta. “We do not have tens of thousands of artists and recordings.
“My offer to Taylor, for the size of our company, was extraordinary. But it was also all I could offer as I am responsible for dozens of artists’ careers and over 120 executives and their families.”
Following the now-viral Tumblr post, Swift has also had a large number of supporters standing with her. It wasn’t only her dedicated fans but some of her closest friends and fellow music icons.
Here’s what they had to say
Halsey posted a lengthy statement to Twitter addressing the controversy on Sunday afternoon.
“Taylor Swift is a huge reason why I always insisted to write my own music,” she wrote. “I believed if she did it, then I should, too.”
“It turns my guts that no matter how much power or success a woman has in this life, you are still susceptible to someone coming along and making you feel powerless out of spite,” continued Halsey, 24.
“It speaks volumes to how far we have to come in the music industry,” she added. “The way writers are treated. How, as an entertainer, you are respected but as a writer, you’re walked all over. Even when you are both in one single body. I am standing with her.”
American singer Sky Ferreira also posted an Instagram story on the matter.
“Gaslighting is a go-to tactic,” she wrote. “Suffering isn’t currency for having the opportunity to do what you love for a living.
“Don’t let anyone convince you that you aren’t supposed to own or control your own work or not get paid properly.”
Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco responded to a fan asking him whether he supports Swift during a Twitch livestream over the weekend.
“Do I stand with Taylor? Of course,” he said. “It’s just like a f—ing s–t-show to learn how awful people can be. Just for a profit. Just for a monetary gain and maybe some clout.”
He added: “I don’t know what kind of clout they feel they deserve because it’s like, ‘Dude, you screwed over a young artist early on and knew you were screwing them over.’”
“Everybody involved in that is a piece of s—, man,” he said. “It breaks my heart.”
Back in April, Urie, 32, became a hit with Swift fans as he was featured on her comeback track, Me!, which is the lead single for the upcoming Lover record.
Cara Delevingne also posted a comment in support of Swift on Bieber’s Instagram post, which the Baby singer later deleted.
“Gentleman?” Delevingne, 26, wrote as a direct response to Hailey Bieber’s comment, which praised her husband as a “gentleman.”
“I wish you spent less time sticking up for men and more time trying to understand women and respecting their valid reactions,” Delevingne continued.
“As a married man, you should be lifting women up instead of tearing them down because you are threatened.”
She added: “I am not sure you actually understand what an apology is.”
Global News has reached out to BMLG and Scooter Braun’s representative. As of this writing, Braun has not made any public comment.
BMLG’s full response to the controversy can be found on its official website. Swift’s full statement can be read on her Tumblr page.
“I will always be proud of my past work,” Swift wrote in conclusion. “But for a healthier option, Lover will be out August 23.”
Lover is now available to be pre-saved and pre-ordered here. It drops on Aug. 23 through Republic Records.
—With files from the Associated Press
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