Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 29 November 2020

Taylor Swift slams $300 million sale of her albums to private equity company

Justin Bieber’s agent, Scooter Braun, bought the rights to Swift’s first six albums in 2019

Scooter Braun, who purchased Taylor Swift's back catalogue in 2019, has sold it to a private equity firm for $300 million. Shutterstock, AP
Scooter Braun, who purchased Taylor Swift's back catalogue in 2019, has sold it to a private equity firm for $300 million. Shutterstock, AP

Scooter Braun, the Hollywood agent who represents Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, has sold the rights to Taylor Swift’s first six albums for $300 million.

Braun and Swift embarked on a public war of words in June 2019 when Braun’s company, Ithaca Holdings LLC bought the singer’s former record label, Big Machine in Nashville, in a sale which included the rights to Swift’s six albums recorded between 2006 and 2017: Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989 and Reputation.

These master recordings were not for sale to me

Taylor Swift

Founded by Scott Borchetta in 2005, Big Machine was snapped up for just a little more than $300 million by Ithaca, with Swift’s back catalogue thought to be worth around $140 million.

And this week, it was revealed that Braun has sold the music to private equity company Shamrock Holdings for $300 million. This led to Swift to take to Twitter to write: “This is the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge.”

Refused to sign ‘iron clad’ non-disclosure agreement

Taking to social media to comment on the re-sale of her work, Swift, 30, wrote: “As you know, for the past year I’ve been actively trying to regain ownership of my master recordings. With that goal in mind, my team attempted to enter into negotiations with Scooter Braun.”

The pop star went on to say that before she and her team were allowed to look at the financials pertaining to the purchase that Braun wanted her to “sign an ironclad NDA stating that I would never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive.”

Swift said she refused to sign the non-disclosure agreement, writing: “These master recordings were not for sale to me.” She also revealed that despite the sale, that Braun would continue to profit from her music “for many years.”

Re-recording her first six albums

Now signed with Universal Music Group, with which she has so far released two albums, 2019’s Lover and this year’s Folklore, Swift has been vocal about how musicians do not own their intellectual property when they sign recording contracts.

“Well, I do sleep well at night knowing that I’m right, and knowing that in 10 years it will have been a good thing that I spoke about artists’ rights to their art, and that we bring up conversations like: Should record deals maybe be for a shorter term, or how are we really helping artists if we’re not giving them the first right of refusal to purchase their work if they want to?” she told Variety earlier this year.

Currently re-recording her first six albums, which neither Braun nor Shamrock Holdings would be able to profit from, Swift wrote on Twitter: “I have recently begun re-recording my older music and it has already proven to be both exciting and creatively fulfilling. I have plenty of surprises in store.”

Updated: November 17, 2020 04:24 PM

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