One week after Taylor Swift took to social media to accuse Big Machine Records of forbidding her from playing old songs at the American Music Awards, Scooter Braun is speaking out about what he believes is a miscommunication between the parties.
At the 2019 Entertainment Industry Conference on Thursday, Braun spoke to Variety’s Shirley Halperin about the drama with Big Machine Records — the company which Braun's Ithica Holdings acquired with financial support from the Carlyle Group this summer — and Swift, who left the label in 2018. Swift was angered to learn that her master recordings were put in the hands of Braun — whom the singer alleged was guilty of “manipulative bullying” in a Tumblr post — and has since vowed to rerecord her previous work through her 2017 album Reputation.
Last week, she accused Big Machine Records of not allowing her to perform a medley of her old music at the AMAs and blocking her from using previous recordings in an upcoming Netflix documentary, a claim which Big Machine Records denied in a statement. Swift’s publicist later provided alleged “receipts,” showing that Big Machine Records did seemingly halt the use of her music in such projects.
For many Swifties, as well as celebrities who came to the singer’s defense, Braun is one of the villains of this scenario for stopping Swift from doing what she wishes with the music she wrote and recorded. Halperin asked Braun at the conference what it was like to be painted in such a light.
“I’m not going to go into details here, because it’s just not my style. I just think we live in a time of toxic division, and of people thinking that social media is the appropriate place to air out on each other and not have conversations,” Braun explained during the Q&A. “And I don’t like politicians doing it. I don’t like anybody doing it, and if that means that I’ve got to be the bad guy longer, I’ll be the bad guy longer, but I’m not going to participate.”
“What I’ll say is, people need to communicate, and when people are able to communicate, I think they work things out,” Braun told Halperin. “And I think a lot of times things are miscommunications, because I believe that people are fundamentally good. I think there are a lot of real problems in the world, and I think that these problems that are being discussed can be discussed behind closed doors and figured out pretty easily, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for six months.”
To hear Braun tell it, the ball is in Swift’s court, now.
Refinery29 reached out to Swift and Braun for comment.