Scooter Braun says that he doesn’t have any issues with Taylor Swift, but he does have problems with her outspoken fans. The music executive explained in a new interview that he supports Swift’s efforts to re-record her albums and take ownership of her work, but he says that she’s “weaponizing” her fans.
“I think Taylor has every right to re-record. She has every right to pursue her masters,” Scooter told MSNBC on Wednesday (April 27). “And I wish her nothing but well, and I have zero interest in saying anything bad about her… The only thing I disagree with is weaponizing a fanbase.”
The manager, whose superstar clients include Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, continued, “The artists I work with have very large fan bases. You don’t do that. It’s very dangerous. There’s people in that fan base who have mental health issues. There’s families involved and I think that’s very, very dangerous.”
Scooter said that sometimes the artists who “weaponize” are the same ones that know “what it’s like to be ridiculed.” He added, “There’s a responsibility with a fanbase.”
Reporter Ari Melber then asked him, “And you think that has happened?” Scooter replied, “That’s all I’ll say about that.”
Per E! News, his public feud with Taylor dominated headlines in June 2019, when Taylor shared a social media post accusing Big Machine Label Group, her previous label which Scooter now owns, of denying her the opportunity to own her music by buying her masters. She said CEO Scott Borchetta and the label would only let her “earn” one album back for each album she put out, so she decided to leave Big Machine. Scooter purchased her masters by acquiring Big Machine with his company Ithaca Holdings.
“When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them,” Taylor wrote at the time. “Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter.”
In a since-deleted Instagram post in November 2019, Scooter said the feud led to him receiving calls from fans threatening the safety of his then-wife Yael Cohen and children, writing, “I am certain there is no situation ever worth jeopardizing anyone’s safety.”
In his new MSNBC interview, Scooter said he tried negotiating with Taylor before purchasing her masters, but when she signed with Universal Music Group, he assumed the deal was off the table and went forward with purchasing Big Machine. “I think there’s a lot of facts out there, but at the end of the day, I think artists should actually have ownership and they should play a role,” he said. “All artists have royalties coming to them from their masters, and if they want an opportunity to buy them, they should have that opportunity and I’m completely open to that conversation.”
He later sold her masters in November 2020 to Shamrock Holdings for a reported $300 million. The “I Knew You Were Trouble” singer wrote at the time that she had wanted to make a deal with Scooter, but his team “wanted me to sign an ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive” before moving forward with the purchase.
“This was the second time my music has been sold without my knowledge,” Taylor wrote on social media at the time. “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.” Taylor decided to re-record her first six albums herself with Universal to officially own those albums. So far, the Grammy winner has released Red (Taylor’s Version) and Fearless (Taylor’s Version).