Pop talent manager Scooter Braun acquires Label that owns Taylor Swift’s catalogue and is home of artists like Sheryl Crow, Lady Antebellum.
Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings acquires Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) in a massive deal backed by the Carlyle Group.
The acquisition incorporates all aspects of BMLG’s business, including its client roster, distribution deals, publishing sides and owned artist masters. Scott Borchetta will join the Ithaca board, acquire a minority interest in Ithaca and remain president/CEO of BMLG. BMLG will continue regular operations out of Nashville.
The deal also brings together two compelling music industry executives, who are each as many forces of nature as they are successful entrepreneurs.
“The idea of Scott and I working together is nothing new, we’ve been talking about it since the beginning of our friendship,” Braun said in a statement. “I reached out to him when I saw an opportunity and, after many conversations, realized our visions were aligned. He’s built a brilliant company full of iconic songs and artists. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? By joining together, we will create more opportunities for artists than ever before, by giving them the support and tools to go after whatever dreams they wish to pursue.”
Borchetta extended the statement, “Scooter and I have been aligned with ‘big vision brings big results’ from the very first time we met in 2010. Since then, I have watched him build an incredible and diverse company that is a perfect complement to the Big Machine Label Group. Our artist-first spirit and combined roster of talent, executives and assets is now a global force to be reckoned with. This is a fantastic day and the beginning of what is sure to be a tremendous partnership and historic run.”
While Big Machine lost megastar Taylor Swift to Universal Music Group late last year, the label roster still carries stars such as Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, Cheap Trick and Jennifer Nettles, as well as acts like Justin Moore, Eli Young Band, Brett Young, Midland, Carly Pearce, and The Voice winner Danielle Bradbery. The label also retains Swift’s catalogue.
So far this year, Big Machine has a market share of 1.17%, exactly what it had a year earlier at the mid-year point. Billboard estimated that the record label’s revenue has varied from $80 million to $120 million averaging about $90 million-$95 million over the last four years.
Both companies have significant affiliations with UMG through distribution deals, something that will seemingly remain in place going ahead.
“In this new chapter, we could not be more excited to continue our respective relationships with [UMG chairman and CEO] Sir Lucian Grainge who has been nothing but supportive and a mentor in our careers,” Braun said in a statement.
As an outcome of the deal, Ithaca Holdings controls and manages all six of Taylor Swift’s multi-platinum studio albums.
In a shockingly honest post, Swift has openly come out at Borchetta and, in particular, Braun, who, she claims, has been responsible for “continuous, manipulative bullying” of her for years.
This was posted on her Tumblr Page, earlier today.
For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead, I was 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. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums.
Some fun facts about today’s news: I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.
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. (See photo) 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.
This is my worst case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept. And when that man says ‘Music has value’, he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it.
When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually, he would sell them. Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter. Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to. He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever.
Thankfully, I am now signed to a label that believes I should own anything I create. Thankfully, I left my past in Scott’s hands and not my future. And hopefully, young artists or kids with musical dreams will read this and learn about how to better protect themselves in a negotiation. You deserve to own the art you make.
I will always be proud of my past work. But for a healthier option, Lover will be out August 23.
Sad and grossed out,