The plot thickens in the ongoing Taylor Swift vs. Scooter Braun, as he no longer owns her Masters. But the question is: Who Does?
In a stunning announcement moments ago, Variety broke the news that Scooter’s Ithica holdings has just sold her Masters to her first 6 albums to a yet unknown investment fund, for a price tag upward of $300 million.
To rewind, just 17 months ago, Scooter (a Taylor ‘enemy’) bought the rights to her masters as he acquired Big Machine Records. In the ultimate he said/she said, she claims she was never offered the chance to buy her Masters before the sale. Both Braun, and Scott Borchetta (the head of Big Machine) beg to differ. It is an ugly, on-going battle, that has caused some musicians to draw battle lines. It’s also lead Taylor to a historic deal with Universal Music Group, where she does control the right to her masters future forward. She has also pioneered the way for more stars to have the same rights, which sadly/stunningly is not the norm in the industry. That means others, usually investment groups, profit off of all future use of an artist’s songs, without the artist having any say.
The timing on this is interesting. Just this month, Taylor gained the opportunity to re-record and re-release all her old songs, to create all new masters.
“Yeah that’s true and it’s something I’m very excited about. My contract says starting from November 2020 I can start re-recording albums 1-5. I think artists deserve to own their own work. It’s next year, I’m gonna be busy.” — Taylor on re-recording her music #TaylorSwiftOnGMA pic.twitter.com/W9e1kRN8Hb
— Taylor Swift News (@TSwiftNZ) August 22, 2019
While this wouldn’t make the original masters useless, as the new recording would have a slightly different sound, it likely would devalue the product. Maybe that’s why Braun sold. Or maybe he finally got sick of the drama. Who knows?
Who’s the New Buyer?
Now’s when the rumor mill fires up. All we know is that the new buyer is a “unknown” investment group. While we’ll certainly learn more very soon, the “Swifites” have been going nuts with theories. First and foremost: Kanye West is behind it. I know, that sounds ridiculous, right? But wait. Just months ago, he tweeted:
I’M GOING TO PERSONALLY SEE TO IT THAT TAYLOR SWIFT GETS HER MASTERS BACK. SCOOTER IS A CLOSE FAMILY FRIEND
— ye (@kanyewest) September 18, 2020
Campaign promise? Making amends? Or, if true, just another was he’s trying to control their ongoing feud? Would he even sell, or just give, them to her?
Here’s another theory: Her new label, Universal Music Group, is behind it. According to some Swifites, all her songs on Spotify now are credited as “Universal Music Group,” which apparently they were not before. Hmmm… And if this is true, would they sell them to her, or maintain the rights? Although this rumor has apparently been shot down.
Taylor’s albums on Spotify still says that Big Machine owns the masters. Universal Music has always distributed the music for Big Machine. Stop spreading fake news & wait for a statement from Taylor or Tree Paine. pic.twitter.com/pOoJ34Z0hM
— Taylor Swift Spotify (@TaySpotify) November 16, 2020
My Theory: Taylor herself is behind the “investment group”. How perfect would that be? She secretly got her connections to form a group, funded them, and now has finally, secretly, accomplished what she’s wanted all along. Or maybe its only secret to us, but Scooter’s team and Taylor’s team have been working on this negotiation for a while. I mean, there’s always THIS (although his net worth is only $4mil, sooo…):
streets are saying joe alwyn bought taylor's masters from scooter as a birthday gift for her
— r | folklore (@delicatevinyI) November 16, 2020
Of course, it could be simply that: an unknown new player in the game. And if so, are they cashing in, or will they attempt the bigger payday to get Taylor to cough up the money? And if so, would she?
We now know a group named Shamrock has purchased the rights, and apparently reached out to Taylor. However, Scooter is STILL in the picture, a no go for Taylor.
Been getting a lot of questions about the recent sale of my old masters. I hope this clears things up. pic.twitter.com/sscKXp2ibD
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 16, 2020
And so the drama continues.