Just a few weeks ago, Taylor Swift was facing a lot of controversy with her latest music, You Need to Calm Down, being accused of “just bank-rolling” on the LGBTQ community. However, over the weekend, things have turned to a curve when news broke out that Taylor Swift has lost all her back catalogs to one named Scooter Braun whom she claimed was an “incessant, manipulative bully [to her].”
Who is Scooter Braun and what did he do?
Scooter Braun, manager to music stars Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, and chairman of Ithaca Ventures, just paid a whopping $300 million to acquire the Big Machine Label Group, Taylor Swift’s former label. Along with the purchase is Taylor Swift’s back catalog that included her 2006 self-titled debut up to her 2017 album, Reputation.
What’s a back catalog?
A back catalog is composed of all the albums and singles an artist recorded while they were signed under a label company. When an artist signs with a label, all original recordings they make under that label is owned solely by that company. So, whether it’s on YouTube, on iTunes, on Spotify or on CD’s, those are all copies of the original recordings and any money made off it in sales and distribution is owned by the company. When an artist leaves the label company to switch to a new one or go independently, they will have to leave all copyrights of their life’s work behind. The only time they can get a chance to get their music back is [if and when] there is a buy-out or a merger with another company – which happened recently and Swift was left in the shadows about it.
Taylor was informed via text according to former owner of Big Machine Label Group, Scott Borchetta, a day before selling
We all know that texting is a cowardly way of breaking up with someone even if you hate their guts, no matter what. Business wise, it’s unprofessional and shows a lack of respect with the people you work and have worked with. If it’s big news and you sent it via SMS, there’s a big chance people might miss it. In the event of a buy-out, employees, stakeholders and anyone who might be affected must be informed before they lose everything in their grasp. Not a day before, but in a good thorough meeting.
And in logic, how can anyone expect another to react to a text message that mentions a decided matter beforehand, nonetheless, a day before? Also, did Borchetta expect Taylor to just simply pull out money from her pocket and wave it around like she was in a packed Italian cafe trying to order a cappuccino?
Really, tied up for another 7 years? Swift also mentioned in her blog post that Big Machine offered her a chance to earn her master recordings but she didn’t want to take the deal because she knew Borchetta was going to sell, and that deal would have to sell her and her future along with it. Borchetta sounded like the devil with a contract for her soul.
Why does Taylor Swift have to take it public?
Well, because Taylor Swift can. Nobody cares about music label company mergers, usually. But when Taylor Swift is double-crossed and have been stolen from in the process, then all hell loose on the internet. Music business is apparently a public business, maybe not in terms of money, but fans all over the world wants to know what’s going on with their faves. Taylor Swift being blindsided said, “my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.” People are angry, therefore #WeStandWithTaylorSwift ignited by a Twitter post made by Halsey. Artists who sided with Taylor have all soon made a move by using the hashtag and unfollowing Scooter Braun. Being unfollowed on social media by actors and musicians who most likely only follow less than 100 people is a #protest.
Also, because it’s a matter of the heart
The music industry have been known to be treacherous and sadistic. Usually, the sadist is the manager and the treacherous one is the music label, hence, the Black Mirror episode: Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too. The people behind the successful artists think that they themselves are artists who sculpted their own David. Believing is impossible for them that someone they manage wants to move on and grow, and their egos can’t take it. As for Taylor Swift, she was just looking out for herself, making decisions as an artist. A lesson other artists should take on before getting screwed with binding contracts you can’t get out of. It’s her pain, her laughter, and her life stories that she left behind in Big Machine that she lost. It was her artwork that she worked hard for, something close to heart. Can you really blame her if she’s hurting? The only difference is that Taylor Swift is human and cannot be owned.
But really, where is Scooter Braun’s fault in all this?
In reality, only a dash of something somewhere. Taylor Swift was perhaps bullied by Braun but he did it in silence. He purchased Big Machine Label, when he probably knew he was hated but he still purchased anyway without even making his own effort to offer Swift her music back. He is probably what Taylor Swift said, “manipulative”. But no grown, proud, narcissistic man like Borchetta would claim that he was manipulated. He will not be accountable as to how he screwed and betrayed Taylor Swift. Borchetta can claim he was transparent in all of this, but he was Scooter’s enabler in this whole silent bullying to Swift. That, and also because Scooter was a former manager and friend to Kanye West and Kim Kardashian – both the biggest bullies to Swift (evidence all over the internet as well).
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