Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun's music rights feud, explained

Dusty Baxter-Wright
·8-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

  • Taylor Swift just publicly called Scooter Braun out, after the music manager purchased the rights to the singer's back catalogue.

  • After Taylor shared a long post on Tumblr, the likes of Justin Bieber and Cara Delevingne have stepped in to have their say.

Hello and welcome to another instalment of Celebrity Feuds You Didn't See Coming™, this time involving Taylor Swift and music manager Scooter Braun.

It began in June of last year when the singer called out Scooter for acquiring her back catalogue, when his company Ithaca Holdings purchased Big Machine Label Group - who own her past music - before then accusing the 38-year-old of being behind "incessant, manipulative bullying".

Here's a complete explanation of the feud...

What Taylor says


June 2019

In a lengthy Tumblr post back in June 2019, Taylor wrote that she "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 then went on to point out the time Kim Kardashian released a recording of her agreeing to to Kanye West's lyrics 'Famous' without her knowing, and Scott used it as an opportunity to bully her online.

"Like when Kim Kardashian orchestrated an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call to be leaked, and then Scooter got his two clients together (Justin Bieber being one - see below) to bully me online about it. Or when his client, Kanye West, organised a revenge porn music video which strips my body naked.

Photo credit: Instagram Stories/Taylor Swift
Photo credit: Instagram Stories/Taylor Swift

"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."

Taylor went on to describe the situation as her "worst case scenario", adding that "never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter."

November 2020

As of November 2020, the feud has reignited, after Braun sold the master recordings to a private equity firm named Shamrock Capital in a deal worth more than $300m according to Variety.

In response Swift took to Twitter to release a statement on the sale, saying, "This was the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge," also adding that Braun's team had wanted her to sign an "an ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive".

Alongside her statement she shared a letter sent to Shamrock Capital in which she said she was initially "thrilled with the idea of working with people who value art and understand how much my life's work means to me," however she was disappointed to learn that the terms of the deal meant that Braun and Ithica Holdings would continue to receive financial reward from her work she stated, "I simply cannot in good conscience bring myself to be involved in benefiting Scooter Braun’s interests directly or indirectly."

What Shamrock Capital says

In a statement provided to JustJared Shamrock Capital said:

"Taylor Swift is a transcendent artist with a timeless catalog. We made this investment because we believe in the immense value and opportunity that comes with her work. We fully respect and support her decision and, while we hoped to formally partner, we also knew this was a possible outcome that we considered. We appreciate Taylor’s open communication and professionalism with us these last few weeks. We hope to partner with her in new ways moving forward and remain committed to investing with artists in their work."

What Big Machine Label Group says

June 2019

Big Machine Label's CEO Scott Borchetta posted an open letter to Taylor in 2019, titled 'So, it's time for some truth', disputing her points and explaining why the music was sold to Scooter. He claims that Taylor and her father - who he claims is on the board of directors at Big Machine - were given prior warning of the deal, writing, "I personally texted Taylor at 9:06pm, Saturday, June 29th to inform her prior to the story breaking on the morning of Sunday, June 30th so she could hear it directly from me."

He added, "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."

Responding to Scott's open letter, Taylor's spokesperson told People:

“Scott Swift is not on the board of directors and has never been. On June 25, there was a shareholder phone call that Scott Swift did not participate in due to a very strict NDA that bound all shareholders and prohibited any discussion at all without risk of severe penalty. Her dad did not join that call because he did not want to be required to withhold any information from his own daughter. Taylor found out from the news articles when she woke up before seeing any text from Scott Borchetta and he did not call her in advance.”

What Justin Bieber says

When Taylor called Scott out for getting two of her clients together "to bully me online", she was referring to Justin Bieber - who has since spoken out on Instagram to defend his music manager.

First, he apologised for bullying her online during her feud with Kim and Kanye. "Hey Taylor. First of all I would like to apologise for posting that hurtful instagram post, at the time I thought it was funny but looking back it was distasteful and insensitive."

Justin then goes on to defend Scooter, explaining that "Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you!" He then accuses Taylor of attempting to use her fanbase to bully Scooter, and to gain sympathy for herself. He finishes:

"One thing I know is both Scooter and I love you. I feel like the only way to resolve conflict is through communication. 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."

What everyone else has to say

Cara Delevingne


Photo credit: GEOFF ROBINS - Getty Images
Photo credit: GEOFF ROBINS - Getty Images

After Hailey Bieber commented "Gentleman." on Justin's post, model Cara Delevingne stepped in to defend Taylor in the comments. She wrote:

"Gentleman? @haileybieber @justinbieber you must be bored. I wish you spent less time sticking up for men and more time trying to understand women and respecting their valid reactions. As a married man, you should be lifting women up instead of tearing them down because you are threatened. I am not sure you actually understand what an apology is. This issue that @taylorswift is talking out is about far more than a picture and you know that. As you said, you haven't spoken to her in years which means you definitely don't understand the situation. I do. Take a step back and try to learn from this. We should all be on the same team. End of story."

Demi Lovato


Photo credit: Desiree Navarro/WireImage - Getty Images
Photo credit: Desiree Navarro/WireImage - Getty Images

The singer, who is also managed by Scooter, has stepped out to defend him, writing on Instagram Stories: "I have dealt with bad people in this industry and Scooter is not one of them. He's a good man. 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. I value loyalty more than most people in this world and if my name is gonna be brought into conversations I'm gonna stay up for myself and the ones on my team."

Yael Cohen Braun

Scooter's wife also took to Instagram to defend her husband, asking Taylor to "get the facts straight". She wrote: "You were given the opportunity to own your masters, you passed. Interesting that the main you're so "grossed out" by believed in you more than you believe in yourself.

"And girl, who are you to talk about bullying? The world has watched you collect and drop friends like wilted flowers. My husband is anything but a bully, he's spend his life standing up for people and causes he believes in.

Other singers offering their support to Taylor



So far, Scooter hasn't responded to Taylor's Tumblr post, but it'll be interesting to see how this develops.


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