Taylor Swift signed to Big Machine Records in 2006, which has released all but one of her albums.
In 2018, Swift signed with Universal Music Group, but Big Machine Records still retains the exclusive rights to her entire back catalogue of master recordings.
Timeline of a feud: Taylor Swift, seen here this summer, is in dispute with Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta over her back catalogue
Here’s how the public feud began:
June 30, 2019: Braun’s $300million deal is announced
The Wall Street Journal reported that Scooter Braun reached a deal of more than $300million to purchase Big Machine Records and with it, all of Swift’s old music.
On the same day, Swift shared a blog post saying that for years she pleaded for a chance to own her work but was only given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, ‘one for every new one I turned in’.
She claimed in the post that she ‘walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future’.
Long working relationship: Taylor Swift signed to Big Machine Records in 2006, which has released all but one of her albums; she is seen with Scott Borchetta in 2013
July 1, 2019: Scott Borchetta releases statement on the sale
Borchetta, the man who sold Swift’s catalog to Braun, says the singer has been misleading about the situation, claiming she had the chance to purchase her work and knew well ahead of time of the deal.
In an open letter on the label’s website, Borchetta, 56, who founded Big Machine Label Group, claimed the songstress had a shot earlier at buying the work, which fell through when she inked a pact with Universal Music Group.
On the same day, celebrities voiced their views. Halsey and Cara Delevingne rushed to support Swift as Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato and Braun’s wife, Yael Cohen, voiced their support for him.
July 2, 2019: Braun faces backlash for bragging about purchase
Braun faced furious backlash over his now-deleted Instagram post that bragged about him ‘buying Taylor Swift’ as he claimed he tried to have a mature conversation with her about the purchase of her catalog of past albums.
When the news first broke – and before Swift responded angrily – Braun was re-posting messages of congratulations from friends and colleagues on his Instagram story.
One of the messages that Braun re-posted and later deleted from his Instagram story congratulated him on ‘buying’ the 29-year singer.
Controversial sale: Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun in June 2019
July 3, 2019: Swift’s lawyers deny she knew about $300m sale
Her lawyer denied claims that Swift had an opportunity to buy her masters before it was eventually sold to Braun.
Borchetta had previously claimed that Swift knew about the sale.
The lawyer refuted claims that the Shake It Off singer was informed months in advance that Big Machine was up for sale.
August 21, 2019: Swift confirms she’s re-recording songbook
The singer announced her plans to re-record her songbook to regain control of her master recordings.
August 23, 2019: Swift celebrates release of first album not owned by Braun
Swift told Good Morning American that her Lover album is so special because ‘it’s the first one that I will own’.
On the same day, Swift slammed Braun in a separate interview, saying: ‘And the person who bought my art, he’s never made any art in his life, so he doesn’t know what it’s like.
‘He could never understand that personal connection. When you make something and then someone buys it out from under you…’ she said, referring to Braun.
August 25, 2019: Swift blasts Borchetta for selling her music
Swift told CBS Sunday that she only found out about the secret $300million deal when it was news online.
‘I found out when it was online, like, when it hit the news,’ she said.
‘I knew he [Scott Borchetta] would sell my music, I knew he would do that,’ she began.
‘I couldn’t believe who he sold it to, because, we’ve had endless conversations about Scooter Braun and he has 300 million reasons to conveniently forget those conversations.’
September 16, 2019: Braun insists he had no ‘malicious intent’ when buying Taylor Swift’s back catalogue masters
Braun insisted he had no ‘malicious intent’ when he bought Big Machine Records.
‘I don’t do anything with malicious intent,’ the 38-year-old power broker told Tony Gonzalez’s Wide Open podcast.
‘I try to do things above board. I try to do the right thing. Not everyone’s gonna be happy with everything that you do, and I think in the long-term, I’ve learned this over time, the truth always comes out, and I’m confident in that.’
November 14, 2019: Swift says she’s banned from singing on TV
Swift claimed that Big Machine Records founder, Borchetta, and music executive Braun have effectively told her ‘shut up or you’ll be punished’.
She claimed they told her that she wouldn’t be able to perform a planned medley of her greatest hits at the American Music Awards next Sunday where she is due to receive Artist of the Decade.
They have also allegedly denied permission to use her old songs on a Netflix documentary that has been two years in the making.
November 15, 2019: Big Machine Records releases statement denying her claims
Swift’s former record company hit back at the singer for making ‘false’ claims that the label banned her from singing her own songs on television.
In a statement, Big Machine Label Group alleged that Swift owes ‘millions of dollars’ to their label and that her social media posts are threatening the safety of their employees.
November 22, 2019: Scooter Braun makes public appeal to end feud after his family received death threats
Braun shared a public letter on Instagram which read in part: ‘Since your public statement last week there have been numerous death threats directed at my family.’
He also said: ‘I assume this was not your intention but it is important that you understand that your words carry a tremendous amount of weight and that your message can be interpreted by some in different ways.’
He made it clear he wants to ‘rectify the situation’ and is ‘open to ALL possibilities.’
Scooter ended his letter with another plea for a resolution – but admitted ‘many’ had told him it was unlikely he and Taylor would meet face-to-face as she’s more interested in creating her own ‘narrative’.
Scooter ended the post with a screenshot of a threatening message he’d received towards his himself, his wife Yael Cohen and their three young children.
Taking a stand: Taylor began her performance at the American Music Awards oon November 24 wearing a white dress shirt with the titles of all her albums on it including 1989 and Fearless
November 24, 2019: Swift performs her hits at the American Music Awards amid controversy
Taylor Swift took aim Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta during her highly-anticipated Artist of the Decade performance amid their highly-publicized feud before revealing to the audience that she has had the ‘hardest’ year ever.
The 29-year-old hitmaker began her performance at the American Music Awards held at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday wearing a white button-down dress shirt with the titles of all her older albums on it including 1989 and Fearless.
She sang her female empowering hit – The Man – before shedding the top to symbolically hit back at the record executives as they own her old catalog of music despite her writing all of it.
The song plays with the perception of men and women in society as she previously explained to Vogue: ‘If I had made all the same choices, all the same mistakes, all the same accomplishments, how would it read?’
It was quite the setlist as she played Love Story, I Knew You Were Trouble, Blank Space, and Shake It Off in that order sandwiched between The Man and Lover.
December 12, 2019: Swift slams Scooter Braun as she accepted Billboard’s first-ever Woman of the Decade award
Swift took at at Scooter while accepting Billboard’s first ever Woman of the Decade award
The Lover hitmaker took aim at the music mogul during her acceptance speech at the Billboard Women in Music Awards 2019 at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles and she also hit out at his supporters.
Taylor told the crowd: ‘Lately there’s been a new shift that has affected me personally, and as your resident loud person, I feel like I need to bring it up. And that’s the unregulated world of private equity coming in and buying up our music as if it’s real estate, or an app, or a shoe line.
‘This happened to me without my approval, consultation or consent.
‘Scooter [Braun] never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale.’
Taylor also called out a number of Scooter’s supporters, saying it is ‘the definition of the toxic male privilege in our industry to say, ‘Well, he’s always been nice to me.’
‘Of course he’s nice to you; if you’re in this room, you have something he needs.’
April 23, 2020: Taylor Swift slams family of billionaire investor George Soros and nemesis Scooter Braun for their ‘shameless greed’ on the release of a new live album
The superstar took to Instagram to slam the executives in the latest war of words over the ownership of her music.
‘It looks to me like Scooter Braun and his financial backers, 23 Capital, Alex Soros, and the Soros family and The Carlyle Group, have seen the latest balance sheets and realized that paying $330 million for my music wasn’t exactly a wise choice and they need money,’ Swift wrote in the post.
Swift finished off her note to her 131 million fans with a biting statement aimed at the executives as she wrote: ‘In my opinion… Just another case of shameless greed in the time of the coronavirus.
‘So tasteless, but very transparent.’
The album in question appears to be titled ‘Live From Clear Channel Stripped 2008’ as some diehard Taylor fans were able to find it listed on Spotify.
Swift wrote: ‘Hey guys – I want to thank my fans for making me aware that my former record label is putting out an ‘album’ of live performances of mine tonight.
‘This recording is from a 2008 radio show performance I did when I was 18. Big Machine has listed the date as a 2017 release but they’re actually releasing it tonight at midnight.’
November 16, 2020: Taylor Swift’s masters are SOLD by Scooter Braun for over $300 MILLION
Music executive Braun unloaded the master rights to the 30-year-old’s first six albums to an unnamed investment fund according to Variety.
The buyer and actual price has yet to be reported but the deal is believed to be over $300 million and closed within the last two weeks according to the entertainment publication.
The sale comes at an interesting time as Swift is now free to re-record songs from her first five BMLG-issued albums as of this month.