As the conversation surrounding artists owning the masters to their music continues, it has just been reported that Scooter Braun has sold the master rights to Taylor Swift’s first six albums after his Ithaca Holdings LLC acquired Big Machine Label Group just over a year ago. This was the first label that Swift signed to at the beginning of her career, and previously owned the rights to those initial projects.
Variety cites that Braun closed the deal that totaled over $300 million closed within the last two weeks. The buyer is currently unknown. When Ithaca Holdings purchased Big Machine Label Group in 2019, it included its client roster, distribution deal, publishing, and owned artist rights. Swift was signed to the label for 12 years, from 2006 to 2018, before her contract expired and she went on to sign with Universal Music Group.
Braun and Swift have had a rocky relationship, especially when it comes down to how her music rights have been dealt with. Swift came out publicly to say that she felt bullied by Braun and that he was "the definition of toxic male privilege in our industry.”
"This just happened to me without my approval, consultation or consent," she continued when talking about her masters. "After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright, my entire catalog was sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in a deal that I’m told was funded by the Soros family, 23 Capital and that Carlyle Group. Yet, to this day, none of these investors have bothered to contact me or my team directly — to perform their due diligence on their investment. On their investment in me. To ask how I might feel about the new owner of my art, the music I wrote, the videos I created, photos of me, my handwriting, my album designs.”
Late last year, Braun addressed the ongoing feud between himself and Swift, saying that he didn't plan on participating in it and "be the bad guy longer" if need be.
"I haven’t talked about this in six months. Not once. I haven’t made a statement about it," he said. "When there’s a lot of things being said and a lot of different opinions, yet the principals haven’t had a chance to speak to each other, there’s a lot of confusion. I’m not going to go into details here, because it’s just not my style. I just think we live in a time of toxic division, and of people thinking that social media is the appropriate place to air out on each other and not have conversations.... I don’t like anybody doing it, and if that means that I’ve got to be the bad guy longer, I’ll be the bad guy longer, but I’m not going to participate."
Braun also reportedly attempted to schedule a private meeting with Swift last year to discuss the matter.
A few hours after news of Braun selling Swift's masters surfaced, the Folklore artist responded on Twitter. You can read Swift's response here.