Monday afternoon, Variety reported that Scooter Braun‘s Ithaca Holdings sold the rights to Taylor Swift‘s first six albums recorded under her former label home, Big Machine (which Ithaca Holdings acquired last year) to an undisclosed investment firm, which paid approximately $300 million for the rights to the master recordings.
Swift herself offered an update to her fans regarding the situation with her master recordings, and confirmed that Shamrock Holdings is the investment company that has purchased her catalog of recordings. In a social media post, Swift said she “received a letter from a private equity company called Shamrock Holdings, letting us know that they had bought 100% of my music, videos and album art from Scooter Braun. This was the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge. The letter told me that they wanted to reach out before the sale to let me know, but that Scooter Braun had required that they make no contact with me or my team, or the deal would be off,” Swift said in a note to fans.
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
“As soon as we started communication with Shamrock, I learned that under their terms Scooter Braun will continue to profit off my old musical catalog for many years. I was hopeful and open to the possibility of a partnership with Shamrock, but Scooter’s participation is a non-starter for me.”
She also said in the note that she has begun re-recording her older music, which she has been free do beginning this month.
Swift noted that in her earlier attempts to enter into negotiations with Braun and his team, “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). So, I would have to sign a document that would silence me forever before I could event have a chance to bid on my own work. My legal team said that this is absolutely NOT normal, and they’ve never seen an NDA like this presented unless it was to silence an assault accuser by paying them off. He would never even quote my team a price. These master recordings were not for sale to me.”
Swift also included a letter of response she sent to Shamrock Holdings on Oct. 28, 2020.
Swift says in the letter: “I was thrilled with the idea of working with people who value art and understand how much my life’s work means to me. I immediately began to plan all the ways we could work together on expanding and protecting my music while maximizing the outcomes for all involved, especially my fans. So, regardless of the fact that it was the second time my masters have been sold without my knowledge while I was actively trying to purchase them, your letter brought me a great deal of hope for my musical legacy and our possible future together.
“This is why I was so disappointed when I learned that under the terms of your acquisition, Scooter Braun and Ithaca Holdings would continue to receive many years of future financial reward from my music masters, music videos, and album artwork. If I support you, as you request, I will be contributing to these future payments to Scooter Braun and Ithaca Holdings. I simply cannot in good conscience bring myself to be involved in benefiting Scooter Braun’s interests directly or indirectly.
“As a result, I cannot currently entertain being partners with you. It’s a shame to know that I will now be unable to help grow the future of these past works and it pains me very deeply to remain separated from the music I spent over a decade creating, but this is a sacrifice I will have to make to keep Scooter Braun out of my life. I’m very sorry he has put you in this position. I wish this could have had a better outcome and please do let me know if your firm is ever completely independent from Scooter Braun and his associates.”
She also said, “I feel the need to be very transparent with you. I will be going forward with my original re-recording schedule and will be embarking on that effort soon. I know this will diminish the value of my old masters, but I hope you will understand that 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 my fans to listen to those albums without feelings of guilt for benefiting Scooter.”
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