Record label founder Scott Borchetta has disputed key claims made by Taylor Swift about the transfer of her master recordings to pop super-manager Scooter Braun, saying the Lover artist was given every chance to immediately gain full ownership of her back catalogue by signing a new deal.
Borchetta today issued a statement on the Big Machine Label Group website, hours after Swift claimed Braun’s purchase of Big Machine was her “worst case scenario.”
While Swift claims Borchetta and Big Machine only gave her a few hours’ notice before news of the deal went public, he says Swift’s father Scott Swift, a minority Big Machine shareholder, was privy to days of business negotiations.
“I guess it might somehow be possible that her dad Scott, 13 Management lawyer Jay Schaudies (who represented Scott Swift on the shareholder calls) or 13 Management executive and Big Machine LLC shareholder Frank Bell (who was on the shareholder calls) didn’t say anything to Taylor over the prior 5 days,” Borchetta said.
“I guess it’s possible that she might not have seen my text. But, I truly doubt that she “woke up to the news when everyone else did”.”
Borchetta also addressed Swift’s key complaint about the deal – that Big Machine had only offered Swift the opportunity to “earn” back the rights to earlier albums by recording and releasing a new ones for the label.
“As you will read, 100% of all Taylor Swift assets were to be transferred to her immediately upon signing the new agreement,” Borchetta said, pointing to a document outlining the terms of their proposed deal.
“Taylor had every chance in the world to own not just her master recordings, but every video, photograph, everything associated to her career,” Borchetta continued.
“She chose to leave.”
Borchetta also disputed Swift’s assertion that Braun would be an irresponsible or damaging owner of her work, saying the guy “has always been and will continue to be a supporter and honest custodian for Taylor and her music.”
The new dispute between Swift and Braun, who serves as the manager of her high-profile antagonist Kanye West and alleged “bully” Justin Bieber, has drawn battle lines between some of pop music’s biggest stars.
Bieber, Demi Lovato, and Ty Dolla Sign have come to their manager’s defence on social media, while figures like Cara Delevingne and Todrick Hall have vouched for Swift in the stoush.
In a world where entire music archives can be lost without artists being informed, having full control over master recordings is insanely important. Given Swift’s stature and the high likelihood people will want to play Shake It Off until the end of time, millions of bucks would be riding on their ownership, too. Expect this drama to carry on for a while to come.
Read Borchetta’s full statement here.