You know who Scooter Braun is. You might not know his face or even his name but Braun is a record executive responsible for the careers of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, and plenty of others. In fact, Braun recently sold all of Taylor Swift’s music rights for what is projected to be about $300 million.
Ithaca Holdings is the record company for which Scooter Braun is an investor. Last November, Ithaca merged with Big Machine Records out of Nashville. Taylor was originally signed with Big Machine Records but because of the merger, she was at the hands of Braun and Ithaca Holdings. Braun bought Taylor’s masters recordings in early 2019. He then sold them to Shamrock Capital just a few weeks ago. All of these sales and purchases were made without the knowledge of Taylor or her team.
An artist’s master recordings gain value with each purchase, each stream, each time it’s played on the radio or in a movie or in a tv show. She could re-record them and push the remastered versions into circulation. Which, in time, would render Braun’s sale virtually worthless. But for Taylor, it’s the principle.
Labels owning masters is a part of nearly every record deal an artist signs. That’s show biz. But in light of this situation, Taylor has brought up the idea that artists should own their own work.
Braun claims he gave Swift the opportunity to buy her music back but Swift denies this remark.
“This just happened to me without my approval, consultation or consent. After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright, my entire catalog was sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in a deal that I’m told was funded by the Soros family, 23 Capital and that Carlyle Group. Yet, to this day, none of these investors have bothered to contact me or my team directly”
After the sale, Shamrock reached out to Taylor to inform her of their purchase. They wanted to begin communication to work together and to let her know that Scooter Braun and his associates would still be profiting off of her masters. Obviously, she did not begin the re-recording process with Shamrock and instead signed with Universal Music Group under the condition that she will get first right of refusal of purchase of her own work.
As of right now, Shamrock Capital owns a $300 million Taylor Swift catalog that they believe will earn enough money to justify the purchase. And Taylor has every intention of re-recording her music and proving their purchase to be worthless.
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