Scooter Braun learned a big lesson after he acquired Big Machine Records in 2019, resulting in a controversial dispute with Taylor Swift.
At the time, Swift accused the music manager of being a “manipulative bully” in a lengthy Tumblr post amid his ownership over the rights to her first six albums, along with music from a number of other artists.
In a rare interview with Braun, the 41-year-old entertainment executive revealed that he “learned an important lesson” from the purchase and is regretful over the way things unfolded.
“When I did that deal, I was under a very strict NDA with the gentleman who owned it, and I couldn’t tell any artist,” he told Jay Williams, seemingly referring to Big Machine owner Scott Borchetta, 60.
The New York native admitted that he wasn’t quite sensible when he signed the papers, something that he wishes he’d done better.
“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; I started to do those phone calls — all hell broke loose,” he explained.
“I think a lot of things got lost in translation,” Braun added. “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.”
Braun shared the important lesson that he learned from the controversy.
“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,” he said. “So I choose to look at it as a learning lesson, a growing lesson, and I wish everyone involved well.”
Two years after his acquisition, Braun sold his company Ithaca Holdings — including Big Machine’s catalog — to South Korean Entertainment powerhouse HYBE for $1 billion. The deal got Braun a seat on the HYBE board. Today, he still manages artists including longtime clients Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.