FILE - In a Saturday, June 1, 2019 file photo, Taylor Swift performs at Wango Tango, at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. In a scathing tumblr post Sunday, June 30, the pop superstar writes she is sad and grossed out that her music catalog now belongs to Scooter Braun who she accuses of subjecting her to years of incessant and manipulative bullying. Braun’s Ithaca Holdings announced Sunday that it is acquiring Big Machine Label Group which released all of Swift’s studio albums and owns her masters.
Photo: Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File
Photo: Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File

Taylor Swift calls former Atlantan Scooter Braun a ‘bully’ after sale of her record label

Braun’s superstar discovery Justin Bieber defended his manager

(Update July 1, 2019: Scott Borchetta has denied Taylor Swift’s claims that she didn’t know about the impending sale of Big Machine Label Group and insists that her claims of being unable to retain the rights to her masters are untrue. Here is his post.)

Scooter Braun made his name in Atlanta and now Taylor Swift is calling him one – a bully. 

According to Billboard, Braun’s Ithaca Holdings agreed to acquire Big Machine Label Group on Sunday for more than $300 million. The deal also includes the music publishing side of the company, Big Machine Music. Swift’s six albums, dating to her 2006 self-titled debut, were recorded under Big Machine.

Swift posted a lengthy message on her Tumblr account Sunday afternoon, where she said Braun’s new ownership of her material is her “worst case scenario.”

The megastar alleges that Braun, 38, subjected her to years of manipulation and bullying and referenced well-publicized instances with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West as proof.

Swift, who signed with Universal Music Group in November for the release of her upcoming “Lover” album, acknowledged that she realized leaving her masters with Big Machine Label Group Founder Scott Borchetta meant he would eventually sell them – but not to Braun.

"My musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it," she wrote.

She also added that she had no idea the deal was in the works and found out about it with Sunday’s announcement.

Borchetta will acquire a minority interest in Braun’s Ithaca group and join its board while also remaining president and CEO of Big Machine Label Group.

On Sunday night, Braun’s wife, Yael Cohen, as well as his most famous discovery, Justin Bieber, defended the music manager on social media.

“One thing i know is both scooter and i love you,” Bieber wrote, in part, on Instagram. “I feel like the only way to resolve conflict is through communication. So banter back and fourth [sic] online I dont believe solves anything. I’m sure Scooter and I would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain or or [sic] any feelings that need to be addressed. Neither scooter or I have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you.”

Braun, who worked with Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def Records and became its marketing director when he was 20 – and attending Emory University – found a then-12-year-old Bieber performing a Ne-Yo song on YouTube. He contacted the young singer’s mother and convinced them to move to Atlanta for a trial period and subsequently pitched Bieber to Usher. Through that connection, Bieber was signed by Usher’s musical mentor, L.A. Reid, to Island Def Jam and RBMG, a joint venture between Usher (whose last name is Raymond) and Braun; Bieber’s debut EP, “My World,” arrived in 2009. 

Swift, meanwhile, ended her post with a plug for “a healthier option,” her Aug. 23 “Lover” album and signed off,  “sad and grossed out.”

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.