Taylor Swift takes aim at Scooter Braun during award acceptance speech

Taylor Swift arrives at Billboard's Women in Music at the Hollywood Palladium on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP
Taylor Swift arrives at Billboard's Women in Music at the Hollywood Palladium on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Taylor Swift warned of a “potentially harmful force” in the music industry as she reignited her feud with prominent talent manager Scooter Braun.

The pop superstar was named woman of the decade by Billboard and used her acceptance speech to discuss the sale of her back catalogue.

Braun’s company, Ithica Holdings, bought Swift’s first record label in a deal reportedly worth more than 300 million US dollars, about £222 million.

The deal – which Swift furiously opposed – gave Braun the rights to Swift’s first six albums.

During her acceptance speech in Los Angeles on Thursday, Swift warned of a “new shift” that is a “potentially harmful force in our industry”.

She said: “As your resident loud person, I feel the need to bring it up. That is the unregulated world of private equity coming in and buying up our music as if it is real estate, as if it’s an app or a shoe line.

“This just happened to me without my approval, consultation or consent.”

Swift, who celebrates her 30th birthday on December 13, said she was told the deal to buy her back catalogue was funded by “the Soros Family, 23 Capital and the Carlyle Group”.

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift spent the last day of her 20s being named woman of the decade by Billboard (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

She added: “Yet to this day, none of these investors have bothered to contact me or my team directly to perform their due diligence on their investment.

“On their investment in me, to ask how I might feel about the new owner of my art. The music I wrote. The videos I created. Photos of me, my handwriting, my album designs.”

Swift, who signed with Big Machine Records as a teenager before switching to Universal Music Group last year, again insisted she had not been given the opportunity to buy her own back catalogue.

She also took aim at Braun’s supporters.

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift looked back on her career as she was named woman of the decade by Billboard (Isabel Infantes/PA)

She said: “Let me just say that the definition of the toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying, ‘Well, he’s always been nice to me’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists and their rights to own their music. Of course he’s nice to you. If you’re in this room you have something he needs.”

Braun’s clients include Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. He said he and his family have received death threats since his row with Swift went public.

Swift was introduced to the stage to accept her woman of the decade award by British actress Jameela Jamil.

Scooter Braun
Talent manager Scooter Braun has been criticised by Taylor Swift for buying much of her back catalogue (Yui Mok/PA)

Recalling her early career, the 10-time Grammy Award winner said: “When this decade began I was 20 years old, I saw that as a female in this industry, some people will always have the slightest reservations about you.”

She said female artists face questions over whether a man was responsible for their work or if their success is down to a “savvy record label”.

“People want to explain away a woman’s success in this industry,” Swift said.

She said women have to “grow fast” to succeed in music, adding they are “not allowed to coast. We are held at a higher, sometimes impossible feeling standard”.

Swift marked her 30th birthday by sharing a throwback picture on Twitter.

The pop star posted a childhood snap along with the caption: “WHO’S GONNA TELL HER SHE’S THIRTAY NOW.”


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