Big Machine's Scott Borchetta: Taylor Swift Had "Every Chance in the World to Own Her Master Recordings"
"She chose to leave," the exec writes in a web post, denying the singer's account.
Big Machine Label Group founder Scott Borchetta posted a lengthy response to Taylor Swift after she blasted Scooter Braun on her Tumblr on Sunday following the news that Braun's Ithaca Holdings had acquired Big Machine, and with it the entire catalog she released through Borchetta's label.
Claiming she learned of the deal "as it was announced to the world," Swift accused Braun of "years" of "incessant, manipulative bullying."
"Like when Kim Kardashian orchestrated an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call to be leaked and then Scooter got his two clients together to bully me online about it," Swift wrote. "Or when his client, Kanye West, organized a revenge porn music video which strips my body naked. Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it."
On Sunday, Braun's wife, Yael Cohen Braun, claimed on Instagram that Swift knew of the deal beforehand, despite the singer's claims to the contrary. In his post, titled "So, it’s time for some truth…," Borchetta backed that up.
He wrote that her dad, Scott Swift, is a shareholder in Big Machine and was notified of a call with shareholders taking place June 25, saying that all shareholders were notified of the pending deal with Ithaca. They had three days to review the terms of the proposed deal and then voted Friday, with three of the five shareholders voting in favor of the transaction.
"Out of courtesy, I personally texted Taylor at 9:06pm, Saturday, June 29th to inform her prior to the story breaking on the morning of Sunday, June 30th so she could hear it directly from me," Borchetta wrote. "I guess it might somehow be possible that her dad Scott, 13 Management lawyer Jay Schaudies (who represented Scott Swift on the shareholder calls) or 13 Management executive and Big Machine LLC shareholder Frank Bell (who was on the shareholder calls) didn’t say anything to Taylor over the prior 5 days. But, I truly doubt that she 'woke up to the news when everyone else did.'"
While TMZ reported something similar on Sunday, saying Swift's dad knew about the deal "for at least a week," Swift's rep denied that, telling People that "Scott Swift is not on the board of directors and has never been. On June 25, there was a shareholder phone call that Scott Swift did not participate in due to a very strict NDA that bound all shareholders and prohibited any discussion at all without risk of severe penalty. Her dad did not join that call because he did not want to be required to withhold any information from his own daughter. Taylor found out from the news articles when she woke up before seeing any text from Scott Borchetta, and he did not call her in advance."
Meanwhile, Borchetta also posted "a few very important deal points in what was part of our official last offer to Taylor Swift to remain at Big Machine Records [at the end of 2018]. Her 13 Management team and attorney Don Passman went over this document in great detail and reported the terms to her in great detail. Taylor and I then talked through the deal together."
"Taylor and I remained on very good terms when she told me she wanted to speak with other record companies and see what was out there for her. I never got in her way and wished her well," Borchetta wrote, adding that "Taylor had every chance in the world to own not just her master recordings, but every video, photograph, everything associated to her career. She chose to leave."
In her post, Swift claimed: "Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to." Borchetta also responded, writing that he "never experienced that."
He added: "Scooter was never anything but positive about Taylor. ... Scooter has always been and will continue to be a supporter and honest custodian for Taylor and her music."
Borchetta ended by posting the text message he received from Swift when she decided to leave Big Machine, followed by the text message he says he sent to Swift on June 29:
I hope this finds you well. Since communication ran dry on our negotiations, I’ve done what I told you I would do and gone out exploring other options. Owning my masters was very important to me, but I’ve since realized that there are things that mean even more to me in the bigger picture. I had a choice whether to bet on my past or to bet on the future and I think knowing me, you can guess which one I chose. I also saw a rare opportunity to effect positive change for a lot of other artists with the leverage I have right now. I know you believe in the same things I do and I’d like to think you would be proud of what I’ve negotiated for in my deal. I wanted to tell you first that I’ll be signing with Lucian. I honestly truly cherish everything you and I have built together and I plan on saying so in my announcement of the new deal. What we accomplished together will be a lasting legacy and a case study on excellent partnerships, and may it continue. I still view you as a partner and friend and I hope you feel the same. Sending you a hug and my most sincere gratitude.
And SO much love,
Hope all is well and congratulations on the success of your first two singles from “Lover”!
I can’t wait to hear the entire album…
I wanted to pass along to you the same courtesy that you passed along to me in regard to my future.
Tomorrow morning (Sunday, June 30th) at 10a central, the Wall Street Journal will announce that I am entering into a merger/acquisition with Scooter Braun and Ithaca Holdings. This move will give us more pop culture super-power than ever before and I’m so excited about the future.
I want you to know that I will continue to be the proud custodian of your previous works and will continue to keep you and your team abreast of all future plans for releases of you work.
Nothing but the best,
The Hollywood Reporter's sister publication Billboard has reached out to Swift's rep for comment.