On Sunday (June 30), it was announced that artist manager Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings had reached a deal to acquire Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) and its music publishing company, Big Machine Music. Though the exact purchase price was not publicly disclosed, sources close to the deal say it reportedly topped $300 million.
The label is home to country mega-stars like Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Lady Antebellum, Reba and Rascal Flatts as well as artists such as Brantley Gilbert, Carly Pearce, Eli Young Band, Brett Young and so many more. Big Machine Label Group is also the entity that launched the highly-successful career of Taylor Swift and while she exited the roster in 2018, the company retains ownership to Swift’s previous catalog.
The headline-making announcement also revealed that once the deal was complete, Big Machine Label Group founder Scott Borchetta would be a minority stakeholder on the board of Ithaca Holdings and would also remain president and CEO of BMLG.
“The idea of Scott and I working together is nothing new, we’ve been talking about it since the beginning of our friendship,” Braun said in a statement obtained by Billboard. “I reached out to him when I saw an opportunity and, after many conversations, realized our visions were aligned. He’s built a brilliant company full of iconic songs and artists. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? By joining together, we will create more opportunities for artists than ever before, by giving them the support and tools to go after whatever dreams they wish to pursue.”
Borchetta added in a statement to the press, “Scooter and I have been aligned with ‘big vision brings big results’ from the very first time we met in 2010. Since then I have watched him build an incredible and diverse company that is a perfect complement to the Big Machine Label Group. Our artist-first spirit and combined roster of talent, executives and assets is now a global force to be reckoned with. This is a very special day and the beginning of what is sure to be a fantastic partnership and historic run.”
When the news of the deal surfaced, country star-turned-pop superstar Taylor Swift immediately shared her thoughts on the matter, admitting that Braun owning the master copies of her music was her “worst nightmare.”
“For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work,” her Tumblr post began. “Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums.”
She went on to list examples of how Braun and his clients such as Kanye West and Justin Bieber would “bully” her and expressed her feelings toward the current deal and her previous recording contract with Borchetta.
“This is my worst case scenario,” she wrote. “This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept. And when that man says ‘Music has value’, he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it.”
Swift’s army of fans quickly came to defense, as did several celebrities, including pop artists Iggy Azalea and Halsey.
The saga continued when Bieber took to Instagram to share his thoughts on the situation, writing a lengthy post apologizing to Swift about a “hurtful Instagram post” he previously shared and defending his manager.
“Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you,” he insisted.
The plot thickened once again when Braun’s wife, Yael Cohen Braun, shared a message to Swift in defense of her husband.
“I have never been one for a public airing of laundry, but when you attack my husband… here we go,” she began.
“Girl, who are you to talk about bullying? The world has watched you collect and drop friend like wilted flowers. My husband is anything but a bully, he’s spent his life standing up for people and causes he believes in,” Yael wrote. “Beyond that, it’s easy to see that the point of putting this out was to get to bully him. You are supposed to be a role model, but continue to model bullying.”
Braun has yet to respond to Swift’s comments personally.
Just as things seemed to begin settling down, Borchetta responded to Swift in a blog post titled “So, It’s Time For Some Truth…” on BMLG’s website. He shared that he personally texted Swift just after 9 pm on Saturday (June 29) to inform her of the news that was about to break.
He also shared deal points that were previously presented to Swift in regards to her label contract and masters.
On Monday afternoon, even more drama unfolded when Swift’s fans exposed a deleted Instagram story from Braun’s friend David Grutman that read, “WHEN YOUR FRIEND BUYS TAYLOR SWIFT.” According to People, Bruan reposted it but later removed the post.
WHY IS EVERYONE IGNORING THIS PROOF???
scooter literally exposed himself in a now deleted instagram story, before everything exploded.
this shows his intentions and proves that he bullied taylor swift.
we love men exposing themselves without even knowing it ??♀️#WeStandWithTaylor pic.twitter.com/hvTdt20Hav
— Arella (@Princess_Arella) July 1, 2019
Swift has remained quiet on the social front after sharing her initial Tumblr post.
In 2018, Swift signed a new, worldwide recording deal with Universal Music Group’s Republic Records imprint. Moving forward, she will own all rights to her master recordings. Her much-anticipated new album, Lover, drops August 23.