Scooter Braun says conflict with Taylor Swift over music acquisition was a ‘learning lesson’

Scooter Braun has spoken about his “regrets” over the way his acquisition of Taylor Swift’s longtime label in 2019 led to a feud between the two.

Braun purchased Swift’s longtime label, Big Machine Records, in 2019, plus the rights to the master recordings of Swift’s first six studio albums. Later, in November 2020, Braun sold the masters to an investment fund in a deal that was believed to be over $300 million.

At the time of the original sale, Swift, who had wished to purchase the masters herself, condemned Braun, labelling him a “bully” and “the definition of toxic male privilege in our industry”.

She has since gone on a campaign to re-record her albums in order to make sure the new owners of her masters don’t profit from her music, encouraging her fans to listen to the highly successful “Taylor’s Versions”.

In a new interview with NPR’s Jay Williams, Braun, who is a well-known music manager overseeing Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and others, said that the controversy was a “learning lesson”.

“The regret I have there is that I made the assumption that everyone, once the deal was done, was going to have a conversation with me, see my intent, see my character and say, great, let’s be in business together,” he said.

Talent manager Scooter Braun with Justin Bieber (PA Archive)
Talent manager Scooter Braun with Justin Bieber (PA Archive)

In November 2020, Swift said, “[Braun] would never even quote my team a price” and that she was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement that would “silence [her] forever.” Braun’s team disputed the claim.

“I can’t put myself in a place of, you know, arrogance to think that someone would just be willing to have a conversation and be excited to work with me,” he told NPR. “I don’t know these people.”

He continued to say that he still believes he was “treated unfairly” in the ensuing fallout from the purchase but understands, “from the other side”, how Swift thought it was unfair, too.

“So I choose to look at it as a learning lesson, a growing lesson, and I wish everyone involved well,” he concluded.