The internet is abuzz with the current Taylor Swift versus Scooter Braun drama that begun on Sunday with a Tumblr post from Swift.
With new statements being released and new supporters emerging every second, it’s important to give the quick run-down of who, what, when and how to develop an understanding of the intricacies of what may appear as a simple pop culture drama on the surface but is really a huge point of contention within the music industry.
Taylor Swift incited the beginning of a tidal wave of side picking and name calling with her Tumblr post, released on Sunday, that called out her former manager, Scott Borchetta, for selling the Big Machine Label and, in turn, her ‘masters’ – master records – to long time public enemy, Scooter Braun, of School Boy Records. The price tag of the company that owns all Swift’s past albums and music videos? Over $300 million.
Swift’s post starts by outlining a deal offered to her by Borchetta to earn back her own intellectual property from the record label that she has been signed to since she was fifteen. “I was given an oppourtunity to sign back up… and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in,” she states in the post. Swift decided to walk from this deal and recently signed with the Universal Music Group, noting that she now owns all her own content and, in turn, her future. “Sad and grossed out,” she signs off her post.
“You deserve to own the art you make. I will always be proud of my past work. But for a healthier option, Lover will be out August 23.”
In the way of all celebrity feuds, Swift’s post has been met with multiple outcries of support for both her and Scooter Braun. To summarise, on Braun’s side, we have; Braun’s wife, Yael Cohen Braun, long-time client and friend of Braun, Justin Bieber, and his wife Hailey Baldwin Bieber, new client, Demi Lovato, Swift’s former manager, Scott Borchetta.
In Swift’s corner are; Halsey, well known Swift squad member, Cara Delevingne, Australian artist, Iggy Azalea, longtime friend, Miley Cyrus, and new friend, Todrick Hall, who has expressed his dismay at the decision in a series of tweets that also examine his own negative experiences as a previous client of School Boy Records. Other celebrities have continued to come out of the woodwork to express support for either side, but it would be impossible to list them all and their modes of support – including likes, follows and unfollows.
Borchetta has responded to his former client in a press release to the Big Machine Label Group website, titled, ‘So, It’s Time For Some Truth…’ In this post, Borchetta addresses Swift’s claims and backs up his own rebuttals by presenting texts and screenshots. In his statement, Borchetta notes Swift’s father’s position as a shareholder in Big Machine Records, LLC., as proof that it is unlikely Swift was unaware of the deal until it was released to the public. He also claims to have texted her the day before it was announced, stating, “I guess it might somehow be possible that her dad Scott, 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 5 days. 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.””
Scooter Braun has not commented on the events of the last few days, however, his wife, Yael Braun Cohen, turned to Instagram to address Swift’s claims. In her post, Cohen Braun points out the oppourtunity afforded to Swift to own her masters and her father’s knowledge of the deal prior to its public release. Her post goes on to call Swift out for encouraging a bullying attitude from her fans with her Tumblr post, finishing with a request for Swift to “please control your fans. Leave our personal life and kids out of this… Tumblr can’t fix this, a phone call can.”
This feud ultimately boils down to a serious question regarding ownership of music and all creative content; should it not always belong to the creator? The rights that Braun has acquired will now see him benefitting from all future sales or licensing of Swift’s past albums. As the third best-selling digital singles artist in the US, the copyrighting to these records that earnt her a place in Rolling Stone’s 2015 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time is invaluable.
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