Scooter Braun regrets how he handled his acquisition of Big Machine Music Group three years ago, a move that put him at odds with Taylor Swift and her army of fans. In a new interview with NPR’S Jay Williams, Braun declared: “I learned an important lesson from that.”
In 2019, Braun’s Ithaca Holdings acquired Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records for a reported $300 million. The deal left Braun with the rights to Swift’s first six albums. The singer went public with her frustration, claiming she was previously blocked from trying to buy her masters back. She made it clear she was not happy with Braun or Borchetta and the drama all played out in the public.
“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,” Braun told Williams.
“I was excited to work with every artist on the label. So when we finalized the deal, I started making phone calls to say, ‘Hey, I’m a part of this.’ And before I could even do that — I made four phone calls… all hell broke loose,” Braun added. “So I think 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.”
Braun continued, “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. And I learned an important lesson from that, that I can never make that assumption 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.”
Braun, who works with Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and J. Balvin, says he chooses to look at the fiasco 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,” he concluded.
Braun ended up selling Big Machine less than two years later, reportedly for a hefty profit. He sold to HYBE, which is another company he’s part of, and maintains he did things differently. “I took 50 million of my own stock that I received, and I gave it to my employees and my artists,” he said.
It’s unclear if Swift has forgiven Braun and Borchetta — but she certainly has not forgotten. The superstar vowed to re-release all six albums she lost the rights to, and so far, she’s gifted fans with two: Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version). Both achieved success all over again and there’s no indication she won’t make good on her promise to record the other four (Taylor Swift, Speak Now, 1989 and Reputation).
MORE: Scott Borchetta speaks out about Taylor Swift drama