Regrets, he’s had a few. Scooter Braun is finally speaking out about Taylor Swift drama in a new interview this week. The music manager, who has famously worked with Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and J Balvin says he wishes he’d handled things with Taylor differently when buying the rights to her masters in 2019.
“I learned an important lesson from that,” Braun, 41, said. “When I ended up selling our company recently to HYBE, which now is the company I’m a part of, which has BTS and chairman Bang, I told myself this time around, everyone is going to participate. Everyone’s going to know. And obviously, I was under NDAs then, too. So when I did that deal that you’re referring to with Big Machine, I was under a very strict NDA with the gentleman who owned it, and I couldn’t tell any artist. I wasn’t allowed to. I wasn’t legally allowed to. What I told him was, ‘Hey, if any of the artists want to come back and buy into this, you have to let me know.’ And he shared a letter with me that’s out there publicly that – you know, the artist you’re referring to said, I don’t want to participate in my masters. I’ve decided to, you know, not make this deal, blah, blah, blah.”
Braun said that when they finalized the deal, he made his rounds via phone calls to let the artists know of his participation in the deal. However, before he could make more than four phone calls, “all hell broke loose.” Braun claimed “a lot of things got lost in translation. I think that when you have a conflict with someone, it’s very hard to resolve it if you’re not willing to have a conversation. So 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.’ And I made that assumption with people that I didn’t know.”
In his interview, Braun said an important lesson he learned from doing that deal was that he can never make an arrogant assumption like that again. “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. I don’t know these people. So when I did the deal with HYBE, I took 50 million of my own stock that I received, and I gave it to my employees and my artists.”
“I think in any conflict, you can say, ‘I didn’t do anything. It’s their fault,'” Braun concluded. “And you could be right. You could be justified. And you could say, this is unfair, I’m being treated unfairly, or you can say, ‘OK, I’m being treated unfairly. I don’t like how this is feeling. I can’t fix this, so how am I going to look at it and learn from it?’ And I didn’t appreciate how that all went down. I thought it was unfair. But I also understand, from the other side, they probably felt it was unfair, too. So I choose to look at it as a learning lesson, a growing lesson, and I wish everyone involved well. And I’m rooting for everyone to win because I don’t believe in rooting for people to lose.”
Back in April, Scooter told MSNBC of Swift re-recording her albums, “I think Taylor has every right to re-record. She has every right to pursue her masters. 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.”
He added, “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.”
As we previously reported, Scooter’s 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.”
Watch the interview below: