Taylor Swift said talent manager Scooter Braun has sold her master recordings to a private equity firm and would not enter negotiations with her unless she signed an “ironclad” non-disclosure agreement.
The pop superstar has been embroiled in a public and bitter row with the high-profile music executive since he bought much of her back catalogue in 2019.
She provided an update on Monday in a lengthy note on social media, saying Braun sold her old music to a third party. Reports in the US suggested the deal was worth more than 300 million dollars (about £227 million).
Been getting a lot of questions about the recent sale of my old masters. I hope this clears things up. pic.twitter.com/sscKXp2ibD— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 16, 2020
She said before negotiations could start, Braun’s team wanted her to sign an “ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word” about him “unless it was positive”.
Swift said: “So I would have to sign a document that would silence me forever before I could even have a chance to bid on my own work. My legal team said that this is absolutely NOT normal, and they’ve never seen an NDA like this presented unless it was to silence an assault accuser by paying them off.”
She said they would “not even quote my team a price” and “these master recordings were not for sale to me”.
Swift said a private equity firm called Shamrock Holdings had bought “100% of my music, videos and album art” from Braun.
She said the company told her Braun had insisted they make no contact with Swift before the sale was final or the deal would be off.
And she said the terms of the deal mean Braun will “continue to profit of my old musical catalogue for many years” and his involvement means she will not forge a partnership with Shamrock Holdings.
And the 30-year-old confirmed she has begun the process of re-recording her old music, saying “it has already proven to be both exciting and creatively fulfilling”.
Swift also shared what she said was a letter in response to the private equity firm which now owns her first six albums.
In it, she said she had been looking forward to working with Shamrock Holdings until she realised Braun would continue to profit from her work.
Swift wrote: “I simply cannot in good conscience bring myself to be involved in benefitting Scooter Braun’s interests directly or indirectly.”
I simply cannot in good conscience bring myself to be involved in benefitting Scooter Braun's interests directly or indirectlyTaylor Swift
She said it is a “sacrifice I will have to make to keep Scooter Braun out of my life”.
Braun’s clients include Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.
Braun bought most of Swift’s back catalogue when his company, Ithaca Holdings, purchased Big Machine Label Group, her first record label.
Swift’s contract with Big Machine ran out in 2018 and she signed a deal with Universal Music Group which gave her the rights to her recordings. She has since released two albums – 2019’s Lover and Folklore, which arrived in July.
Speaking at the time Braun bought Big Machine, Swift said she was “sad” and “grossed out” and accused the 39-year-old of being behind “incessant, manipulative bullying”.
Whoever owns the master recordings earns revenue through avenues including streaming and use in TV, film and adverts.
If Swift re-recorded her old music she could try and ensure the new versions are streamed by fans and used in any other projects, taking away revenue from the owner of the old versions.
Braun previously said he received death threats as a result of his feud with Swift. A representative has been contacted for comment.