Scooter Braun regrets how he handled Taylor Swift catalog acquisition (sort of)

Scooter Braun regrets how he handled Taylor Swift catalog acquisition (sort of)

Left: Scooter Braun, still from The Limits With Jay Williams interview (embedded below). Right: Taylor Swift, photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.


On this week’s episode of NPR’s The Limits With Jay Williams, music mogul Scooter Braun joined the former NBA star — and his longtime friend — to discuss his life and career. During the interview, Williams brought up about Braun’s recent conflict with Taylor Swift, whose catalog he acquired in 2019 from her former label, Big Machine. Swift referred to the acquisition as her “worst-case scenario” at the time and said she was “sad and grossed out” by the way it had been handled in an impassioned Tumblr post. Shortly thereafter, she decided to re-record her early albums in order to reclaim ownership over them.

“When you bought the rights to Taylor Swift’s masters, it turned into a really big thing,” Williams said in the new interview, somewhat understating a scenario that Braun has said led to multiple death threats being aimed at him and his family after Swift directed her fans to contact Braun and former Big Machine owner Scott Borchetta about the deal. “If you could go back in time… Would you have handled it differently?”

“Yes, I would’ve. I learned an important lesson from that,” Braun responded. “I think a lot of things got lost in translation. I think that when you have a conflict with someone, it’s very hard to resolve it if you’re not willing to have a conversation. So the regret I have there is that I made the assumption that everyone, once the deal was done, was going to have a conversation with me, see my intent, see my character, and say ‘Great, let’s be in business together.’ I made that assumption with people that I didn’t know, and I learned… that I can never make that assumption again.

“In any conflict, you can say, ‘I didn’t do anything, It’s their fault!,’” he went on. “And you could be right, you could be justified. You could say, ‘This is unfair, I’m being treated unfairly,’ or you can say, ‘OK, I’m being treated unfairly. I don’t like how this is feeling. I can’t fix this, so how am I going to look at it and learn from it?’

“I didn’t appreciate how that all went down. I thought it was unfair. But I also understand, from the other side, they probably felt it was unfair, too. So I choose to look at it as a learning lesson, a growing lesson, and I wish everyone involved well. And I’m rooting for everyone to win because I don’t believe in rooting for people to lose.”

Swift’s claims that Braun subjected her to “incessant, manipulative bullying… for years,” and that he and Borschetta were holding her music hostage to stop her from re-recording it, were not addressed in the interview. His statement of regret wasn’t exactly the apology Swift and her fandom may have been hoping for, but it’s probably the closest they’ll get to one.

Since 2019, Swift has released three LPs of new music, as well as re-recordings of her second and third studio albums, Fearless and Red, as promised. Her next project, Midnights, is due out October 21.