Camila Cabello is Team Taylor. The "Havana" singer opened up about her childhood, her disdain for President Trump, Fifth Harmony, and her upcoming sophomore album inspired by her love life (possibly with Shawn Mendes?) in an interview with Variety, and in the interview, she staunchly spoke in defense of Swift following the Scooter Braun drama. Camila Cabello's comments about Scooter Braun owning Taylor Swift's masters give insight into an unfortunate aspect of the music industry from someone with firsthand experience.
For those unsure, owning the masters in music means you profit the most from the sale of that music. It's like Michael Jackson owning The Beatles' masters for so long. When you own the masters to an artist's music, you decide what is done with it. Frequently in the music industry, an artist does not own their own masters. Swift revealed in an emotional and candid Tumblr post in July that she has never owned her masters, but she has tried like hell to get them. Scooter Braun, who manages artists like Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, now owns them after a massive acquisition deal with Big Machine and Scott Borchetta.
"For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in," Swift said in her Tumblr post. "I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future."
Swift said she knew her masters for her six albums would be sold eventually, but Braun — whom she accused of bullying her in her Tumblr post — acquiring them was unexpected and her "worst-case scenario."
Cabello, who was one of the opening acts on Swift's Reputation tour along with Charli XCX, defended Swift's public contempt for Braun owning her masters in her interview with Variety, simply saying she was defending her “because she is my friend."
"Someone in her position — which is, like, on another level — I can’t imagine how many times she’s been let down by people, or gotten disappointed by friends who were just using her, or people who just wanted to be friends with Taylor Swift or whatever," Cabello said. "I’m happy to be there for her as a person. Like, ‘Even when it’s not popular, I’ve got you. I’m, like, your real friend.’"
Cabello then brought Braun into the mix. She said,
With the Scooter thing, I one-hundred-percent feel her frustration. An artist of her caliber just being f*cked over like that, and not being able to have her masters? That sucks. It’s heartbreaking for her. And I do believe a lot of the systems in place for the music industry are kind of … messed up. When you think about how artists have to slave to make these things, and then you don’t own them, that is kind of a ridiculous concept.
From an outsider's perspective, it really makes no sense to me that someone who made their own music doesn't own it. But it's intense contract deals with rising young artists that result in situations like Swift's.
Cabello's Variety interview notes that she herself was one of those rising young artists when she was added into Fifth Harmony when she was 15. Cabello said, however, that her manager made sure she wasn't taken advantage of in her contract.
“He renegotiated my contracts to the point where it’s, like, incredible,” she said. “I’m really lucky to have that. Because the thing that’s worth the most is the art.”
Cabello's interview also reveals that her sophomore album (title and release date not disclosed) is "a million times better" than her first album, noting that it's all about her falling in love. Whether she's referring to her ex-boyfriend, Matthew Hussey, or rumored new flame, Shawn Mendes, Cabello didn't say. Maybe Swift knows? Can someone text her and ask?