Taylor Swift's ongoing feud with music manager Scooter Braun has exploded once more today, as reports emerge that Braun has sold all of Swift's master recordings for more than $400 million.
Variety reports that Braun's Ithaca Holdings has sold the masters of Swift's first six albums to an investment fund for more than $400 million, just 17 months after he acquired them amid a fierce backlash from Swift and her fanbase.
And as the news was made public today, Swift released two letters on social media to "clear things up": One, an update to her fans updating them on the situation, and another, addressed to the team at Shamrock Holdings, the company that bought her masters from Braun.
Last year, Braun's Ithaca Holdings bought Nashville record company Big Machine, which held all of Swift's past masters, for $400 million. The deal infuriated Swift, who has a chequered history with Braun and who said she wanted to be able to own her own music.
In a letter to fans issued today, Swift revealed that her team had been attempting to negotiate a sale with Braun for the past year, but could not agree to his unusual terms.
"Scooter's team wanted me to sign an ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive, before we could even look at the financial records of BMLG (which is always the first step in a purchase of this nature)," she wrote.
Swift said her legal team told her this was "NOT normal," and that she suspected Braun never actually intended to sell her the masters. The letter:
"For transparency," Swift also included a letter of response dated October 28, 2020 that she sent to the private equity firm that purchased her music:
In the letter, Swift warns the company that she intends to re-record and re-release her first six studio albums - an act she knows "will diminish the value of my old masters, but I hope you will understand this is my only way of regaining the sense of pride I once had when hearing songs from my first six albums and also allowing fans to listen to those albums without feelings of guilt for benefitting Scooter."
The letters are the latest public move in a long-running feud between Swift and Braun, the high-profile manager of acts such as Justin Biber, Ariana Grande and Carly Rae Jepsen.
After the sale of her masters was announced last year, Swift wrote an open letter to her fans calling it her "worst case scenario" and claiming that, for years, Braun had engaged in "incessant, manipulative bullying" of her.
"This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term 'loyalty' is clearly just a contractual concept," she wrote, referring to Big Machine boss Scott Borchetta, who sold the masters to Braun.
"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."
"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."
Swift released two albums in the space of 12 months since leaving Big Machine records and owning her own music: 2019's Lover and this year's surprise release folklore. Both topped the charts worldwide, selling millions of copies.