Scooter Braun is retiring from music management after 23 years. Here's everything to know about his life and career.

  • Scooter Braun announced he's retiring from music management after 23 years.

  • Braun is best known for guiding the careers of young stars like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

  • He also made headlines for buying Taylor Swift's back catalog, which led to an explosive feud.

After discovering one of this century's biggest pop acts, Justin Bieber, as a tween in the 2000s, Scooter Braun also became one of the music industry's power players — building a reputation as "a trailblazer who harnessed the power of social media to turn his artists into global brand names," according to Business Insider's Anna Silman.

On Monday, the music mogul officially retired from management after 23 years.

His announcement paid tribute to high-profile clients like Bieber, Demi Lovato, and Ariana Grande, all of whom severed ties with Braun last year. He will remain active as the CEO of Hybe America.

From his days working as a party promoter in Atlanta to his $300 million acquisition that got him on the wrong side of Taylor Swift, here's everything you need to know about Scooter Braun.

Scooter Braun, 42, was born in New York City and grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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Scooter Braun attends a 2018 gala in New York City.Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Braun's parents, Ervin and Susan, raised Scooter (real name Scott), and his siblings Adam, Sam, Cornelio, and Liza in the suburbs. In their household, sports like basketball, football, and swimming, were given priority, according to The New Yorker.

He was his high school class president at Greenwich High School, according to Atlanta Creative Loafing.


Scooter is a childhood nickname that just stuck around — and he hates it.

scooter braun kanye west
Scooter Braun managed Kanye West for about two years.Ben Rose/WireImage

Scooter's parents named him Scott but everyone else in his life knows him by his nickname Scooter, which he was given while attending a first-grade birthday party.

"I hated it, and my brother found out that I hated it and kept calling me Scooter," he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2012.

The nickname stuck, with the manager confirming that — with the exception of his parents — "pretty much everyone else calls me Scooter."

Braun said basketball played a huge role in his career.

Scooter Braun, left, and wife Yael Cohen attend the game between the Los Angeles Clippers vs. the Oklahoma Thunder at Staples Center on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015,
Scooter Braun and his ex-wife, Yael Cohen, sit courtside in 2015.John Salangsang/Invision/AP

Basketball was especially important in Braun's upbringing, he told The New Yorker.

His father Ervin founded an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team called the Connecticut Flame. In 1998, when Scooter was 17, the Brauns became the legal guardians for two AAU players who once played on the Mozambique national team — Sam Manhanga, then-15, and Cornelio Gouibunda, then-14.

"The game made me professional," he said of the real-world business values he believes he has because of it. "That I shouldn't be afraid of a full-court press. It's my fault when we lose; it's their victory when we win."

Braun attended Emory University, where he played Division III basketball and earned money by promoting parties.

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Scooter Braun attends the So So Def anniversary party on February 23, 2013.Prince Williams/Getty Images

According to Emory University, Braun hit the ground running when he got to Georgia.

The college student promoted parties at clubs around Atlanta. The events attracted high-profile guests like Usher and Ludacris.

Through his club promotion work, Braun got a job offer to run marketing at So So Def Recordings. He never finished his degree at Emory.

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Usher and Jermain Dupri perform at the So So Def 20th anniversary concert.Prince Williams/Getty Images

As Braun tells it, Jermaine Dupri approached the then-college student at an event and offered him the role of head of marketing at his label, So So Def.

Braun accepted, left Emory without a degree, and that was that, according to The New Yorker.

After leaving So So Def, Braun took to alternative routes to finding work and new talent. That's when he stumbled upon little-known rapper Asher Roth on MySpace.

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Asher Roth is best known for his 2009 debut single "I Love College."Ethan Miller/Getty Images for MGM Resorts International

During an interview with Complex's "Blueprint" podcast, Braun said that when he was fired from So So Def, he had enough money to sustain himself and his two, then-unknown clients for 13 months.

Eleven months in, things were looking bleak; money was running low and his clients weren't quite having the luck he'd hoped for.

On a particularly hard day, he called his dad crying. And then, Asher Roth arrived.

"The next day Asher came in and played me 'I Love College,' and the publishing deal saved our company," Braun said. "It just shows you how close success and failure lie."

Around the same time, he found a young singer from Canada on YouTube. His name? Justin Bieber.

Justin Bieber Scooter Braun
Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun were a dynamic duo for many years.Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

As a young teenager, Justin Bieber spent his time busking and sharing videos of himself singing on YouTube. Luckily, he caught the attention of Braun, who told The New Yorker that he pitched Bieber to both Usher and Justin Timberlake.

Both men were interested in signing the young singer and reportedly engaged in a bidding war. But it was up to Bieber, who chose to be mentored by Usher and signed to Island Def Jam.

The rest was pop history.

Braun once said he considers himself a "camp counselor for pop stars."

Scooter Braun and Ariana Grande attend the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards
Scooter Braun and Ariana Grande attend the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards.Kevin Mazur/MTV1415/WireImage

While Bieber was his brand's flagship star for many years, Braun has been credited for guiding a long list of A-list artists.

Indeed, Braun seems to have a hand in every pot in the music industry, but especially pop music. He signed Carly Rae Jepsen after she broke out with the diamond-certified smash "Call Me Maybe" and began mentoring Ariana Grande when she was still a young actor on Nickelodeon.

Braun has also managed clients like Kanye West, Usher, Karlie Kloss, Tori Kelly, The Black Eyed Peas, and Martin Garrix, per his website.

In 2018, he branched out into film, forming Mythos Studios, which seeks to make movies based on comic book franchises.

former chairman of Marvel Studios David Maisel and Scooter Braun
Former chairman of Marvel Studios David Maisel and celebrity manager Scooter Braun.Alexandra Wyman/WireImage; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Pencils Of Promise

In 2018, Braun teamed up with Marvel Studios' founding chairman David Maisel to create Mythos Studios, their own studio focused on creating comic book movies and franchises, Vulture reported.

At the time it was reported that the studio had three movies in development, "Fathom" and  "Soulfire" — based on the cult Aspen Comics properties — and "Cupid," which was slated to feature Justin Bieber as the titular character.

While the movies haven't made it to the big screen in the five years that have passed, The Hollywood Reporter said in May 2023 that "Cupid" is still in development (and Bieber is still attached). There have been no updates on the status of the other two movies.

Braun is also involved in philanthropy, including the March for Our Lives.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky, Ariana Grande, and Scooter Braun attend March For Our Lives on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Activist Cameron Kasky, Ariana Grande, and Scooter Braun attend March For Our Lives in 2018.Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives

In 2017, Billboard called Braun "Music's First Responder."

He's organized events like the Hand in Hand ­telethon (co-sponsored with Bun B) to raise money for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Along with his client Ariana Grande, he led the One Love Manchester benefit show for the victims of the terrorist bombing at her May 2017 concert in the UK city.

He also lent an organizational hand to the student organizers of the anti-gun violence protest, March for Our Lives, held in Washington DC in 2018, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Braun has a large stable of labels and companies. It briefly included Big Machine Records, which he purchased in 2019. He sold the label to the South Korean company Hybe in 2021.

Scooter Braun And Scott Borchetta
Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta announced their partnership in 2019.Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Ithaca Holdings

In June 2019, Braun's company, Ithaca Holdings LLC, acquired Big Machine Label Group.

In the $330 million purchase, Braun gained control of Taylor Swift's first six albums, which she had released through the Nashville-based label before she signed a new contract with Republic Records.

Swift's master recordings made up $140 million of that valuation, according to Billboard.

The following year, Ithaca Holdings sold Swift's masters to Shamrock Holdings for a reported $405 million, making Ithaca a $265 million profit, the outlet reported.

In April 2021, it was announced that South Korean company Hybe had acquired Ithaca Holdings, including Big Machine, in a $1.05 billion deal. As part of the sale, Braun became Hybe America's CEO and joined the company's board of directors.

Braun's purchase of Big Machine sparked an explosive feud with Swift, who said she was not given a fair chance to buy her own music.

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Taylor Swift launched her "Taylor's Version" series in 2021.Ashok Kumar/TAS24/Getty Images

Swift was a foundational client for Big Machine, which was founded in 2005.

A few hours after Braun's purchase of Big Machine was announced, the megastar wrote a blog post on Tumblr to express her disapproval. Swift said she'd tried to buy her master recordings for years but had not been given the chance.

Instead, Swift had said she was offered the chance to sign a new contract that would require her to create six more albums under the label in exchange for the masters of the first six, a term that she felt was "unacceptable."

Swift added that she was unaware that Braun — whom she described as an "incessant, manipulative bully" — would be the one to acquire her music until it was publicly announced.

"Scooter has stripped me of my life's work, that I wasn't given an opportunity to buy," she wrote. "Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it."

In no uncertain terms, Swift also decried Big Machine CEO's Scott Borchetta's role in the scenario.

"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 post caused a ripple effect across the industry.

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Taylor Swift has been vocal about her issues with Scooter Braun.Dave J Hogan/Rich Fury/Getty Images

It seems like everyone had an opinion about the clash between Swift and Braun.

After Swift shared her post on Tumblr, Bieber fired back with a long Instagram caption defending Braun.

Hailey Bieber commented on the post, calling her husband a "gentleman." But Cara Delevingne commented that he missed the point and called Bieber out in the comments for "tearing women down."

Borchetta responded in a lengthy post of his own, denying Swift's account of the deal.

Demi Lovato, who was managed by Braun at the time, also called him a "good man" on her Instagram Story.

However, across the industry, many who were not managed by the mogul showed their support for Swift. Halsey, Iggy Azalea, and Todrick Hall (once formerly in Braun's stable), among others, spoke out in her defense. Meanwhile, Swift's public crusade for ownership inspired younger artists like Olivia Rodrigo to negotiate for more control in their record contracts.

Swift went on to launch her "Taylor's Version" series — rerecordings of her first six albums — in an unprecedented move to reclaim her past works. She has continued to criticize Braun in interviews and has written several songs that allude to their sour relationship.

For his part, Braun said he "regrets" how he handled the situation with Swift's masters.

Last year, many of Braun's biggest clients parted ways with him. J Balvin, who signed with Braun in 2019, announced he was moving to new management in May.

j balvin
J Balvin performs at Lollapalooza in 2019.Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

The Columbian singer, best known for hits "Mi Gente" and "I Like It," has been managed by Roc Nation since his departure from Braun's SB Projects in May 2023, according to Billboard.

At the time, Justin Bieber was still under contract with Braun but was reportedly seeking new management.

Justin Bieber and manager Scoot Braun at the 40th American Music Awards in 2012.
Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun at the 2012 AMAs.Kevin Mazur/AMA2012/WireImage/Getty Images

The rumors of an exodus from SB Projects kicked off when Puck News reported that Bieber and Braun hadn't spoken in months. (This story was echoed by People.) Puck's Matthew Belloni reported that Bieber was "poking around for a new agency or manager."

Representatives for both Bieber and Braun initially denied the report, per Page Six, and sources confirmed Bieber was technically still managed by Braun. (According to Billboard, Bieber still had four years left in his management contract.)

Prior to their reported estrangement, Braun steadied Bieber's career through tough times, including his string of arrests for vandalism, dangerous driving, and assault, and periods of low mental health.

Demi Lovato dropped Braun as a manager, which sources described as an "amicable" and "mutual" decision.

Scooter Braun and Demi Lovato attend the OBB Premiere Event for YouTube Originals Docuseries "Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil" in 2021.
Scooter Braun and Demi Lovato attend the 2021 premiere of "Dancing With The Devil."Rich Fury/Getty Images for OBB Media

Billboard broke the news that Lovato, who signed with Braun in 2019, was seeking new management after splitting with Braun sometime in July. A source close to the "Sorry Not Sorry" singer confirmed the news to Business Insider.

A source also told Variety the decision was mutual and amicable.

Mere days later, representatives for Carly Rae Jepsen, BabyJake, and Asher Roth confirmed to AP that none of them were still working with Braun "and haven't for quite some time."

It was then reported that Ariana Grande, another of Braun's biggest clients, had also dropped him.

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Ariana Grande attends the 2020 Grammy Awards.David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Grande began working with Braun in 2013 ahead of the release of her debut album, "Yours Truly." She briefly fired the manager in 2016 before rejoining his team.

Amid the flurry of reports that Braun's empire was crumbling, Belloni revealed on X that Grande had left SB Projects.

Although sources close to Braun initially denied Belloni's report, Billboard, People, and Variety subsequently confirmed Grande's departure, calling the decision "her choice." Some attributed the change to Braun's lack of engagement, saying that he had stepped back from management duties in recent years.

After 23 years, Braun announced the end of his management career. He described himself as "a father first, a CEO second, and a manager no more."

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Scooter Braun at Arena on December 6, 2023.Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Nearly one year after Bieber, Lovato, Grande, and more severed ties with Braun, the mogul said his time as a manager had come to an end.

Instead, Braun will focus on his role as the CEO of Hybe America — the entertainment group that reps K-pop acts like BTS, Seventeen, NewJeans, and more — and on raising his three children, whom he shares with his ex-wife Yael Cohen.

In a nearly 1,400-word statement posted on Instagram, Braun paid tribute to the many clients he shepherded over the years — even alluding to their widely reported mass exodus, which he'd previously only joked about online.

"It's a strange feeling because I think I have wanted this for a while, but I was truly afraid to answer the question 'who would I be without them?'" Braun wrote. "I was really just 19 years old when I started. So for my entire adult life I played the role of an artist manager on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And for 20 years I loved it."

"But as my children got older, and my personal life took some hits, I came to the realization that my kids were 3 superstars I wasn't willing to lose," he continued. "The sacrifices I was once willing to make I could no longer justify."

Braun said his plan to transition out of management was solidified last summer, when one of his "biggest clients" decided to "spread their wings and go in a new direction."

"We had been through so much together over the last decade, but instead of being hurt I saw it as a sign," Braun said, declining to identify the client in question. He added, "I always tried to take the high road."

Read the original article on Business Insider