Update Nov 16, 2020:
Swift revealed that the "unknown investment fund" that bought the rights to Swift's first six albums for upwards of $300 million is Shamrock Holdings. "This is the second time my music has been sold without my knowledge," she wrote. The first was when Braun bought her former label, Big Machine Records, and with it her masters (a move she heavily, publicly decried). Swift wrote that at first, she was "hopeful and open to the possibility of a partnership with Shamrock," but later learned that per their deal, Braun will continue to profit off of her music catalog.
"Scooter's participation is a non-starter for me," she wrote.
She also included the letter she wrote to Shamrock Holdings in late October, in which she detailed why she couldn't partner with the private equity group if they still had ties to Braun: "I hope you will understand that this is my only way of regaining the sense of pride I once had when hearing songs from my first six albums and also allowing my fans to listen to those albums without feelings of guilt for benefiting Scooter," she wrote.
She ended her personal note by confirming that she is re-recording her old albums as she said she would, and that she has "plenty of surprises in store."
This story was originally published on November 16, 2020.
Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings LLC have sold the rights to Taylor Swift’s first six albums to an unknown investment fund for what is believed to be north of $300 million, Variety reported. This move comes a little over a year after Braun bought the Scott Borchetta-owned independent record label Big Machine — which manages Sheryl Crow, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Rascal Flatts and Lady A — for over $300 million. The transaction fueled a highly public battle between Swift, Big Machine (aka Borchetta) and Braun. Swift not only described the pain of not having full ownership over her own work, but to add insult to injury, the man who now owned it had played a pretty significant role in her feud with rapper Kanye West.
After her contract was up in fall 2018, Swift left and joined Universal Music Group, with which she released her last two albums, Lover and folklore.
Why would Braun sell the masters after such an ordeal? It seems like a strategic deal for Braun, as Variety pointed out that he “profited handsomely” off of the sale based on what he originally bought the label for. It's also no coincidence Swift’s contracts on her old albums expired at the beginning of November, so Braun got his money right before Swift was able to re-record them, which she said back in August 2019 she was planning to do. If she made sure the new versions were streamed by fans and used in other commercial projects (ads, TV shows, movies, etc.), then it would make her old masters lose value.
Here's a fun theory: What if that unnamed investment fund were Ms. Taylor Swift herself? Sounds like a Swiftian Easter egg to me.
Refinery29 reached out to Braun for comment.