Taylor Swift was just named the highest paid celebrity in the world on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list – having earned $185 million over the past year! She even topped Kylie Jenner, who came in a close second place with $170 million.
Thanks to her “Reputation” Tour, which grossed $266.1 million and broke the record for the highest-grossing tour in U.S. history, 2019 was Swift’s most profitable yet. To give you an idea of how far she’s come – in 2018 she earned $80 million. So you could say she’s literally on top of the world.
Maybe. Not quite.
As you’ve probably seen in the headlines lately, the star has been voicing her extreme displeasure with Scooter Braun acquiring her music catalog. When Braun bought the rights to her music through his late June purchase of her old record label, Big Machine Label Group, she posted a lengthy letter on Tumblr:
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.
It’s been 10 days since Swift penned this, and Braun has yet to publicly respond to her comments. Many insiders think that he will never respond, instead preferring to try to communicate with Swift in private.
There are many who did respond, though – including Big Machine Label Group CEO Scott Borchetta. He replied to Swift in an open letter on the company’s website soon after she posted on Tumblr. He titled it, “So, It’s Time For Some Truth…” In the post, he accused Swift of lying about many of the negotiation’s details.
Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato also weighed in on the controversy in defense of Braun.
“Neither scooter or i have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you. I usually don’t rebuttal things like this but when you try and deface someone i loves character thats crossing a line..,” Beiber posted on Instagram.
Lovato wrote in her Instagram stories: “”I have dealt with bad people in this industry and Scooter is not one of them,” she started. “He’s a good man. Personally, I’m grateful that he came into my life when he did. Please stop ‘dragging’ people or bullying them. There’s enough hate in this world as it is. Y’all can come after me all you want but I’m always gonna stay loyal to my team. I value loyalty more than most people in this world and if my name is gonna be brought into conversations I’m gonna stand up for myself and the ones on my team.”
Halsey, on the other hand, took to Swift’s defense, saying, “She deserves to own the painstaking labor of her heart.”
Todrick Hall tweeted: “”For those asking, I left Scooter Braun a long time ago… I am saddened by this news, but not shocked. He is an evil person who’s [sic] only concern is his wealth and feeding his disgusting ego.”
Brendon Urie, who collaborated with Swift on her new single “ME!,” took a stand during a live stream on Twitch. He said, “This f*cking Scooter Braun sh*t, like what a piece of sh*t, right? You guys know about this dude? It just broke my heart, I read Taylor’s statement and I was like, ‘That sounds about right,’ y’know. Toxic dudes doing toxic bullsh*t in this toxic industry. I stand with Taylor, of course: It’s a sh*t show to learn how awful people can be… just for some profit… and maybe some clout.”
So we have to ask… What do you think of all this? What side are you on? Share your comments with us below!