Celebrity

Juicy Details Of Taylor Swift & Scooter Braun’s Feud

A timeline of the drama set to be detailed in a new, two-part docuseries.
a collage of taylor swift and scooter braun on a red and yellow background
Images: Getty

After 23 years of managing artists like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, Scooter Braun officially announced his retirement on June 17, 2024—four days before a documentary about his feud with Taylor Swift was set to air.

After almost two decades of avoiding scandal, in 2019, the music manager found himself embroiled in controversy. Taking to Tumblr at the time, Swift called Braun out for purchasing the rights to her first six albums, and alleged he had bullied her. This marked the beginning of a spat that would play out over the next five years.

The feud between Swift and Braun is now being chronicles in a docuseries by Discovery+ in the UK. Titled Taylor Swift vs. Scooter Braun: Bad Blood, the two-part series is part of WBD U.K.’s “vs” series, which has also charted the legal battle between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, as well as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s divorce.

While the docuseries won’t be available to watch in Australia, it will no doubt delve into the juicy, oft-forgotten details of the story. Catch up on all the bits to know below.

(Image: Getty)

2019: Scooter Braun acquires Taylor Swift’s masters and gets called out

In late 2018, Taylor Swift announced she was leaving Big Machine Records, the music label responsible for signing her and releasing her first six albums. Scooter Braun purchased Big Machine the following year. With the buy, he purchased ownership to Swift’s master recordings, which are the original sound recordings of a song.

Taylor did not take well to this, especially since she had tried to buy or earn back the rights to her own music.

The pop star took to Tumblr to air her grievances, calling out Braun and Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta.

“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,” she wrote. “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.”

(Image: Getty)

Swift added that while she knew her masters would eventually be sold, she never thought it would be to Braun, who she accused of “incessant, manipulative bullying.”

“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,” Swift continued. “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.”

Borschetta hit back, refuting Swift’s statement. He also made a series of claims of his own (including that Swift’s dad was a shareholder in Big Machine and had therefore known about Braun’s acquisition of the company), which Swift’s camp refuted again.

The two parties versions of events did not align.

2019: Celebrities take sides

As Swift, Braun and Borchetta took public swipes at each other, their A-list friends got involved.

Kanye West and Justin Bieber, both clients of Braun’s at the time, publicly shaded Swift. Demi Lovato, who was also signed to Braun, defended him.

On the other side, Swift had the backing of her famous girl squad. Halsey, Cara Delevingne, Martha Hunt and Selena Gomez’s mum, Mandy Teefey came to her defence on social media.

Scooter Braun and Justin Bieber (Image: Getty)

2019: Kelly Clarkson suggests Taylor re-record her music

After Taylor Swift uploaded her Tumblr post calling our Scooter Braun, a surprise star came out to offer her advice.

On Twitter, Kelly Clarkson made a post suggesting Swift “should go in & re-rerecord all the songs U don’t own the masters on.” Clarkson added, “I’d buy all of the new versions just to prove a point.”

In August that year, Swift announced her plan to do exactly that. During an appearance on Good Morning America she said, “I’m very excited about it because I think that artists deserve to own their work. I just feel very passionately about that.”

Swift added that contractually, she was permitted to rerecord her old tracks from November 2020.

2019: Taylor Alleges she was blocked from performing her old songs

2019 was a big year! In November, Taylor Swift took to Tumblr once again with a post titled “Don’t Know What Else To Do.”

In it, she alleged Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta were preventing her from including her old songs in a medley performance at the 2019 American Music Awards (AMAs).

“They claim that would be rerecording my music before I’m allowed to next year,” Swift wrote.

The singer also alleged that the pair were trying to block the inclusion of her songs in a Netflix documentary about her, later announced to be Miss Americana.

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Swift added that Borchetta had said she would be allowed to use her old music, “If I agree to not re-record copycat versions of my songs next year … and also told my team that I need to stop talking about him and Scooter Braun.”

Big Machine Records fired back with its own statement. The label said Swift’s Tumblr post was based on “false information” and wrote, “Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist.”

They also accused Swift of “contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets” to the company. Swift’s long-time publicist, Tree Paine fired back, saying it was actually Big Machine who owed Swift money (US$7.9 million in unpaid royalties, to be exact).

She would go on to perform the songs at the AMAS on November 25.

2020: Big Machine releases an old performance as a live album

While things quietened down after the AMAs, five months later Taylor Swift published another set of allegations on her Instagram Story.

The singer alleged that Big Machine had plans to release a 10-plus-year-old performance of hers as a live album.

“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,” she claimed. “I’m always honest with you guys about this stuff so I just wanted to tell you that this release is not approved by me.”

2020: Scooter sells Taylor’s masters for US$300 million

17 months after he acquired them, Scooter Braun sold the masters of Taylor Swift’s first six albums. Per Variety, the buyer was an unknown investment fund who paid upward of US$300 million for the rights.

While some fans thought Swift was involved with the anonymous fund, she came out to clarify that she was not and therefore, still didn’t own her masters.

2020: Taylor makes a cheeky jab at Scooter in an ad

After having several goes at calling him out via well-thought-out statements, in 2020, Taylor Swift took a cheekier jab at Scooter Braun.

Swift’s friend Ryan Reynolds had created a new commercial, which was sound tracked to a snippet of the re-recorded version of ‘Love Story.’ Fans quickly spotted what was deemed to be an Easter Egg from Swift: a literal scooter tipped over in front of a dumpster fire, with the number six sprayed on the wall behind it.

2021: Taylor drops Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version)

As promised, Taylor Swift dropped two re-recordings of her old albums in 2021: Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version). She would go on to release Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) and 1989 (Taylor’s Version) in 2023, too, all the while releasing fresh projects on top.

While fans continues to spot Easter Eggs and nods to the beef in Swift’s new music, neither her, Scott Borchetta or Scooter Braun engaged in any overt public jabs for a couple of years.

2023: Scooter starts losing clients

In mid-2023, Scooter Braun’s empire seemingly began to crumble.

In the years since he famously fell out with Taylor Swift, a handful of Braun’s artists parted ways with him in quick succession. Ariana Grande, Idina Menzel, J Balvin and Demi Lovato were among them. While there was already public animosity towards him, multiple outlets reported that these exits were due to Braun’s waning presence at his management company, rather than extra beef. You can read more about it here.

(Image: Getty)

2024: Scooter retires

Braun announced his retirement on Instagram in June 2024, revealing he had been thinking of leaving artist management for two years. He will remain the CEO of HYBE Entertainment.

In his announcement, he potentially hinted at his very public beef with Swift. Braun wrote, “as my children got older, and my personal life took some hits, I came to the realization that my kids were 3 superstars I wasn’t willing to lose.”

“There has been a lot said about what is happening in our company … and in my career. When we had success I smiled, and when we were attacked I tried to take the high road,” Braun added.

Following Braun’s post, Swift performed a mash up of two diss tracks from her Lover record at her Eras show in Cardiff. As the concert’s surprise song, she  combined ‘I Forgot That You Existed’ with ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.’ The only thing that could have topped it would have been the announcement of her next re-recording—Reputation (Taylor’s Version, of course).

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