Swifties woke up on Monday, July 1, to a brand new world. Their queen posted a long emotionally driven letter on her Tumblr account explaining that her old label, Big Machine, had been acquired by Scooter Braun for $300 million dollar — a man she claims has bullied her in the past, along with Justin Bieber and Kanye West. According to Billboard, Swift's entire music catalog was included in the acquisition. Big Machine Label Group's CEO Scott Borchetta's response to Taylor Swift's open letter about Scooter Braun has fans split, as the two seem to have conflicting stories and explanations for the lead up to this very public showdown.
In Swift's letter, she wrote that she woke up and learned about Braun's purchase of her masters in real time, just like everyone else. "All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years," she said. Swift later added, "When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them. Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter."
Swift's letter continued,
Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to. He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever.
Apparently, Borchetta took issue with this rendition of what truly went down. In response, he took to Big Machine's Label's website where he posted his own letter titled, "So, It's Time For Some Truth." In it, he outlined discrepancies he saw in Swift's characterization of Big Machine's final offer to Swift to renew her contract with them, and shared a photo of said offer and what he says are real conversations and text messages he and Swift exchanged leading up to the hand-over announcement.
To begin, Borchetta claims it is highly unlikely Swift had no heads up. For one thing, according to him, her father is a shareholder in Big Machine. According to Borchetta, all shareholders were informed of the news on June 25, five days before it went public. Borchetta also says he personally texted Swift the night of June 29 so she would hear it from him directly.
From there, Borchetta outlined the offer he presented to Swift, which he calls "extraordinary" compared to that of the deals he has with Big Machine's other artists. He backed this up with shared images of the contract that Borchetta claims was looked at in "great detail" by Swift's management team and attorney, Don Passman.
"As you will read, 100% of all Taylor Swift assets were to be transferred to her immediately upon signing the new agreement. We were working together on a new type of deal for our new streaming world that was not necessarily tied to ‘albums’ but more of a length of time," he wrote.
Borchetta also seemed surprised by Swift's claim that she was "almost in tears" any time they discussed Braun. "I certainly never experienced that," he wrote, adding:
Was I aware of some prior issues between Taylor and Justin Bieber? Yes. But there were also times where Taylor knew that I was close to Scooter and that Scooter was a very good source of information for upcoming album releases, tours, etc, and I’d reach out to him for information on our behalf. Scooter was never anything but positive about Taylor.
Borchetta also claims Braun reached out to him to see if Swift would like to participate in Ariana Grande's One Love Manchester Benefit concert following the May 2017 attack and also March For Our Lives in 2018, which was organized partly by survivors of the Parkland shooting. Borchetta says Swift declined in both circumstances. "Scooter has always been and will continue to be a supporter and honest custodian for Taylor and her music," he wrote.
It's also worth noting Bieber has spoken out in defense of Braun, claiming that his manager had nothing to do with an old Instagram post that Swift shared. Swift claimed the post, which features a screenshotted FaceTime chat between Braun, Kanye West, and Bieber, was orchestrated by Braun to bully her through social media. Bieber said the post was just a screenshot of an unrelated discussion he was having on FaceTime with Braun that he used to comment on Swift and West's drama at the time (which he acknowledged was distasteful). While this doesn't excuse Bieber's post, it does suggest Braun was not behind it at all.
Finally, Borchetta ceremoniously ended his letter, "and that's the truth," before signing.
At the time of publication, Braun had yet to respond to Swift or Borchetta's letters personally, but his wife sure did.
I can practically hear Swift's next album writing itself.