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Taylor Swift unable to buy back her own music as master recordings are sold

Written by on 17 November 2020

Taylor Swift has claimed music mogul Scooter Braun would not allow her team to enter negotiations to buy her own music from him, unless she signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

The Bad Blood singer has been fighting for control of her original recordings since Braun bought a large number of them last year.

Now, the music executive has apparently sold on his share of Swift’s back catalogue to a private equity firm, according to the singer, with reports saying it went for around $300 million (£227 million).

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Taylor Swift’s music was sold along with her former record label in 2019

In an update on social media, Swift said that before she had a chance to negotiate a deal for her music, Braun’s team wanted her to agree to an “ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word” about him “unless it was positive”.

Swift said: “So I would have to sign a document that would silence me forever before I could even 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.”

She added they would “not even quote my team a price” and “these master recordings were not for sale to me”.

Braun apparently sold “100%” of Swift’s “music, video and album art” to a firm called Shamrock Holdings, according to the singer, saying the terms of the deal meant that the mogul would “continue to profit of my old musical catalogue for many years”, and his ongoing involvement was the reason she would not be involved into a partnership with them.

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In a letter to the private equity firm, which now owns her first six albums, Swift said she was initially looking forward to working with the company.

She wrote: “I simply cannot in good conscience bring myself to be involved in benefitting Scooter Braun’s interests directly or indirectly.”

Swift added it is a “sacrifice I will have to make to keep Scooter Braun out of my life”.

She also revealed she had begun the process of re-recording her old music, adding: “it has already proven to be both exciting and creatively fulfilling”.

However, whoever owns the master recordings, owns the revenue from streaming, sales and use in TV and films.

Braun bought most of Swift’s back catalogue when his company purchased her first record label, Big Machine Label Group, meaning he had access to the music she recorded up until 2018, when she left the label.

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Speaking at the time of the sale, Swift said she was “sad” and “grossed out”, accusing Braun of “incessant, manipulative bullying”.

Swift has released two albums since her departure from Big Machine Label Group, Lover and Folklore, which Braun did not purchase.

Press Association has reached out to Scooter Braun for comment, but he has previously denied any malicious intent.