Big Machine Label Group Sale Causes War of Words: What Taylor Swift, Scott Borchetta + More Have Said
Since the news broke on June 30 that celebrity talent manager Scooter Braun would be buying the Nashville-based Big Machine Label Group from its founder and CEO, Scott Borchetta, a whole lot has happened. Between all the arguments, escalations and sides taken, it's difficult to keep all the drama straight -- but we're trying!
Here's how it all started: After BMLG's sale was made public, Taylor Swift -- a former BMLG artist who left the label for UMG after her contract ended in November -- posted a note to Tumblr stating that the sale was her "worst case scenario." The label owns the masters to her first six albums, and Swift says that although she knew Borchetta would someday sell the label (and with it her catalog), she never imagined that Braun would be the buyer.
In that post, Swift shared that, for years, she endured Braun's "incessant, manipulative bullying." His clients include Kanye West, with whom Swift has a long-standing and public feud, as well as Justin Bieber, whom Swift claims "bull[ied] me online" after West's wife, Kim Kardashian, made an "illegally recorded snippet of a phone call" between Swift and West public. (The latter incident is what sent Swift out of the spotlight for a number of months, and what inspired her 2017 album Reputation.)
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Immediately, those involved swarmed social media to weigh in on the label sale and Swift's reaction to it, beginning with Borchetta himself. In a blog post titled "So, It's Time for Some Truth," the label head -- who will retain his role when Braun takes control -- disputed Swift's claim that she never had the opportunity to purchase her masters before the label's sale.
Borchetta also asserted that Swift's claim that she "woke up to the news like everyone else did" was inaccurate, because he had texted her about it the night before it went public, and was also assuming that Swift's dad, who is one of the company's shareholders, or another team member would have also told her about the sale. (Later, however, a spokesperson for Swift shared that Swift's father had recused himself from shareholder calls about the sale "because he did not want to be required to withhold any information from his own daughter.")
Meanwhile, celebrities and music industry members flocked to pick sides. Gretchen Peters, Cher, Halsey and others spoke out in support of Swift, while Demi Lovato, Sia and more came to Braun's defense. Kelsea Ballerini, while not directly taking a stand, expressed her desire to be there for Swift as a friend: "I've reached out to her and I love her very much," Ballerini wrote on Twitter.
Five or so months later -- during which time, Swift shared that she "absolutely" planned to re-record her music in 2020, when her contract allowed, to take back control of her work -- Swift, Borchetta and Braun's feud made headlines once again. On Thursday (Nov. 14), Swift claimed that Braun and Borchetta are blocking her from performing her old music during events, and from releasing a Netflix documentary. In response, Big Machine Label Group released a statement refuting Swift's claims ... which a rep for Swift then called into question via another statement.
Read on for an in-depth look at the statements from Swift, Borchetta and others.