Taylor Swift has responded after Scooter Braun and his media holding company, Ithaca Holdings LLC, sold the master rights to her first six albums.
Ithaca acquired the Big Machine Label Group back in June 2019, giving the company the rights to six of Swift’s albums from her 2006 self-titled debut through to 2017’s ‘Reputation’. The singer signed with Republic Records, who are owned by Universal Music Group, in 2018.
After Variety reported the $300 million sale earlier today (November 16), Swift confirmed that her masters had been sold to the private equity company Shamrock Holdings.
In a statement on Twitter, Swift said she hoped to “clear things up” in regards to the sale of her masters and revealed that she had been attempting to negotiate with Braun prior to the sale.
Swift said that Braun’s team wanted her to sign an “ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive, before we could even look at the financial records of BMLG”.
“So I would have to sign a document that would silence me forever before I could even have a chance to bid on my own work,” she added. “My legal team said that this is absolutely NOT normal, and they’ve never seen an NDA like this presented unless it was to silence an accuser by paying them off.
“He would never even quote my team a price. These master recordings were not for sale to me.”
Been getting a lot of questions about the recent sale of my old masters. I hope this clears things up. pic.twitter.com/sscKXp2ibD
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 16, 2020
Swift continued by explaining that she had been contacted by Shamrock Holdings a few weeks ago to inform her that they “had bought 100% of my music, videos and album art from Scooter Braun”.
“This was the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge,” Swift said. “The letter told me that they wanted to reach out before the sale to let me know, but that Scooter Braun had required that they make no contact with me or my team, or the deal would be off.”
Swift’s statement claims that Braun will continue to profit from her catalogue “for many years”. While the singer said she was initially hopeful about partnering with Shamrock, she said that “Scooter’s participation is a non-starter for me.”
In addition to her statement on the sale, Swift also shared her letter to Shamrock (dated October 28) in which she wrote: “I’m very sorry [Braun] has put you in this position. I wish this could have had a better outcome and please do let me know if your firm is ever completely independent from Scooter Braun and his associates.”
In a statement, Shamrock explained that they made the investment in Swift, who they described as “a transcendent artist with a timeless catalogue”, “because we believe in the immense value and opportunity that comes with her work”.
“We fully respect and support her decision and, while we hoped to formally partner, we also knew this was a possible outcome that we considered. We appreciate Taylor’s open communication and professionalism with us these last few weeks. We hope to partner with her in new ways moving forward and remain committed to investing with artists in their work.”
Swift added that she has “recently begun re-recording my older music and it has proven to be both exciting and creatively fulfilling”. She also said that she has “plenty of surprises in store”.
Following Ithaca’s acquisition of Big Machine in June 2019, Swift accused Braun in an open letter of “incessant manipulative bullying” and said that she was “sad and grossed out” when it emerged that Braun controlled her master records. Braun later claimed that he had “no malicious intent” and “did everything aboard”.
In a bid to reclaim control of her music, Swift stated in August 2019 that she planned to re-record the songs from her first six records.