The Battle Between Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift, Explained

Amid a battle over the rights to Taylor Swift’s music, how did the feud between the singer and her manager Scooter Braun star? Details.


Aug. 23 2023, Updated 12:34 p.m. ET

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Throughout her career, Taylor Swift has worked hard to assert her independence as an artist. But she's made it clear that one of the biggest hurdles to her success has been her former manager Scooter Braun.

Indeed, the feud between Scooter and Taylor has made headlines over the years. But what happened exactly?

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How did the feud between Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift start?

The battle between Scooter and Taylor started after Scooter bought Big Machine Records, Taylor’s former label, for $300 million in 2019. The purchase gave him the rights to Taylor’s first six albums. Initially, Taylor admitted that she was rattled by the news, which she claims she learned about at the same time as the general public.

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For a while, it seemed like things had calmed down. In November of 2019, though, Taylor published a note in which she claimed that Scooter and the head of Big Machine, Scott Borchetta, were preventing her from performing the hits from these albums. “This is WRONG,” she wrote on social media. “Neither of these men had a hand in the writing of those songs. They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans.”

Taylor said that her masters were sold in order to exert control over her.

In her letter, Taylor said that she knew that Scott would eventually sell her masters, but that she never imagined Scooter would be the buyer. “He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them,” Taylor wrote in her note. Taylor also said that Scooter had been trying to manipulate her for years. 

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“All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years. Like when Kim Kardashian orchestrated an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call to be leaked and then Scooter got his two clients together to bully me online about it … Or when his client, Kanye West, organized a revenge porn music video which strips my body naked,” Taylor wrote. 

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Eventually, celebrities took sides in the feud. Some, like Justin Bieber, ultimately came out in support of Scooter, while others sided with Taylor. The battle culminated with Taylor’s claims that she could no longer play her own music. 

Scooter said he received death threats in response to their feud.

After Taylor posted her message online, an army of fans rallied in her defense, including fellow celebrities like Selena Gomez and Gigi Hadid. Following the post, Scooter claimed in an Instagram post that he had received numerous death threats. After Taylor posted her letter, Scooter posted a message of his own asking for the two of them to meet so that they could put an end to the entire feud. 

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Taylor decided to rerecord her old music.

In August 2019, Taylor announced that she was rerecording her previous six albums so that she could own those masters. Before she rerecorded her first album, Scooter ended up selling the original masters in 2020 to private equity firm Shamrock Holdings, which Taylor also tried to contest.

By April 2021, the first of the singer's rerecordings (referred to as "Taylor's Version") was released.

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In September 2022, Scooter expressed regret about how things went down, saying that things got "lost in translation." He told NPR (per the Los Angeles Times): "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.’”

Rumors began surfacing that other big-name artists were leaving Scooter's management.

In August 2023, reports started circulating that several of Scooter's high-profile clients were abandoning ship — including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato.

Justin's team denied this, and a source also told Daily Mail that Ariana had signed a new deal with Scooter as part of his CEO role at the entertainment group Hybe.

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