December 9, 2019

Taylor Swift Escalates Battle With Scooter Braun and Big Machine

The escalating battle — a sort of chess game of contract maneuvers and public relations — started over the summer, when Swift spoke out against the music manager and entrepreneur Scooter Braun after he announced his company’s purchase of Big Machine.

Braun — who once managed the noted Swift adversary Kanye West — was a bully, the singer said, and in teaming with the Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta, who signed Swift when she was 15, the pair would partially dictate her musical legacy. (Borchetta countered that Swift had been offered a new deal at Big Machine that would have allowed her to eventually own her recordings; Swift instead signed to a new label last year, and stipulated that she will own her masters there.)

Stars like Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and the K-pop group BTS have aggressive online fan communities that frequently attack perceived enemies online, for slights real or imagined. On Thursday, Swift effectively weaponized her following, calling explicitly for her fans to “help” by letting Borchetta and Braun “know how you feel about this,” and by asking her followers to lean on artists managed by Braun, whose roster includes Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. While thousands of Swifties, as her supporters are known, shared messages of solidarity for the singer and even circulated a Change.org petition (“Let Taylor Swift perform/use HER art”), Twitter was also forced to delete multiple posts that it said violated its rules by purporting to share Braun and Borchetta’s phone numbers.

Swift’s call to action did not stop there: She also invoked the private equity firm the Carlyle Group, a major investor in Braun’s company, Ithaca Holdings, that helped to fund the purchase of Big Machine, leading her followers to share information among themselves about the firm. Carlyle did not respond to a request for comment.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/15/arts/music/taylor-swift-scooter-braun.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

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