Recording executive Scooter Braun claimed he offered to sell Taylor Swift back the master recordings of her first six albums, but the Fearless star refused to negotiate.
Braun, who earned the rights to Swift’s music in 2019 when his company, Ithaca Holdings, bought the singer’s former record label, Big Machine, said in a new interview that he regrets how the deal was perceived by the star and her fans.
“It makes me sad that Taylor had that reaction to the deal. All of what happened has been very confusing and not based on anything factual,” Braun told Variety magazine.
“I don’t know what story she was told. I asked for her to sit down with me several times, but she refused. I offered to sell her the catalogue back and went under [a non-disclosure agreement], but her team refused. It all seems very unfortunate.”
Big Machine was snapped up for more than $300m by Ithaca, with Swift’s back catalogue thought to be worth around $140m. In November 2020, Braun sold Swift’s music to private equity company Shamrock Holdings for $300m. This led Swift to take to Twitter to write: “This is the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge.
“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 added that before she and her team were allowed to look at the financials pertaining to the purchase, 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 agreement. Since then, she has been on a mission to recreate her older albums as their re-recording restrictions expire.
Braun told Variety there was nothing sinister about his intentions regarding Swift’s music. He said he was shocked when Swift wrote in a Tumblr blog post that she had been on the receiving end of his “incessant, manipulative bullying”.
“The thing that struck me the worst is the word ‘bully’. I’m firmly against anyone ever being bullied. I always try to lead with appreciation and understanding,” Braun said.
“Open communication is important and can lead to understanding. She and I only met briefly three or four times in the past, and all our interactions were really friendly and kind. I find her to be an incredibly talented artist and wish her nothing but the best.”