Taylor Swift’s Music Label Scandal

Emily Robles, Staff Writer

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During the summer of 2019, it was announced that the country-pop record company, Big Machine Label Group, was sold to an umbrella company owned by Scooter Braun, Ithaca Holdings. This record label was home to pop star Taylor Swift for many years. Swift shared multiple posts on Tumblr where she stated that she was completely unaware of this taking place–which caused label founder, Scott Borchetta, Scooter Braun, Braun’s wife, and even pop-singer Justin Bieber, to receive immediate backlash from Swift’s fans. Bieber went onto Instagram where he uploaded a picture of him photographed with Braun and Kanye West, both who have had history with Swift. The post was uploaded on August 2, 2019, captioned “Taylor Swift, what up.” This angered Swift’s fans and ultimately sparked back-and-forth arguments on social media between the stars.

This change in ownership meant that Swift’s life’s work would now belong to Scooter Braun, which she went onto describe as her “worst-case scenario”. This past August, during an interview broadcasted on “CBS Sunday Morning,” Swift confirmed a rumor that was frequently being asked. After many speculations, Swift confirmed that she was, in fact, planning to re-record her entire catalog, in hopes of regaining artistic and financial control of her material.

She was only 15 years old when she signed her first record contract with Big Machine Label Group and she remained with Big Machine for more than a decade. She was their most successful artist, creating six platinum albums and winning 10 Grammys. After Scott Borchetta was flooded with messages from fans, he announced that in 2018, he had offered Swift the opportunity to sign a new contract, but she declined. With this new contract, she would regain the rights to one old album with every new album she turned in. The star did not sign this new deal, describing it as “unacceptable.” Therefore, her entire catalog will remain under the control of Scooter Braun.

Braun and the star actually have a bit of history, and it isn’t a good one. In her Tumblr post, she states “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. 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.” She went on to say, “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 the opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.” So, yeah, you can say they aren’t the best of friends. Braun has received a rather lot of hate from Swift’s fans, “Swifties,” following the change in ownership. Although Braun owning all of Swift’s work has angered many and allowed them to feel resentment towards Braun, at the end of the day, as Taylor stated, her work will forever “lie in the hands” of someone who tried to “dismantle” her career.

In late 2018, Swift left the Big Machine Label and signed with Universal Music Group. Although she is now signed with a different label, Big Machine still retains the rights to all her old recordings. Her new label will serve as her worldwide recorded music partner and Universal Music Group’s Republic Records will serve as her label partner in the US. When Swift announced her partnership with Universal Music, she did not fail to mention that going forward, she will own all her master recordings. On August 23, 2019 the star released a single by Republic Records, Lover. The Lover era and beyond will belong to Swift, as she works hard to regain what was stolen from her.

 

Taylor Swift and Scott Borchetta, founder of former label “Big Machine Label Group” attending the 49th annual ACM award show on April 6, 2014.

 

 

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