For the last three years, Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift have been embroiled in a long-standing feud over the record executive's decision to purchase Swift's music catalog back in 2019. Now, after selling Swift's masters in 2020, Braun has revealed his one regret about the deal.
While chatting on NPR's The Limit podcast earlier this week, Braun explained that he wrongly assumed that every artist involved in Ithaca Holdings' acquisition of Big Machine Records and its assets, including Swift, would be just as enthusiastic about it as he was.
"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,'" he said. "I made that assumption with people that I didn't know."
In hindsight, Braun called it an "important lesson" that he continues to keep in mind going forward, adding, "I can't put myself in a place of, you know, arrogance to think that someone would just be willing to have a conversation and be excited to work with me."
While Braun did not directly identify Swift throughout the conversation, he noted that the situation was made even worse by an NDA that prevented him from notifying artists about the deal before it was announced.
"I was under a very strict NDA with the gentleman who owned it and I couldn't tell any artist. I wasn't allowed to," he said. "What I told him was, 'Hey, if any of the artists want to come back and buy into this, you have to let me know.' And he shared a letter with me that's out there publicly that the artist you're referring to said, 'I don't want to participate in my masters.'"
Following the deal announcement, Swift posted on Tumblr that she had "pleaded for a chance to own my work" for years prior to the sale, calling the move "my worst-case scenario."
However, while on the podcast, Braun maintained that "a lot of things got lost in translation" about the entire situation. "I think in any conflict, you can say, 'I didn't do anything. It's their fault.' And you could be right. You could be justified. And you could say, 'This is unfair, I'm being treated unfairly," he said. "Or you can say, 'Okay, 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?'"
John Salangsang/Variety/REX/Shutterstock; Kevin Mazur/WireImage Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift
"I didn't appreciate how that all went down. I thought it was unfair," he said. "But I also understand, from the other side, they probably felt it was unfair, too."
When Braun later sold the master rights to Swift's work to Shamrock Holdings in 2020, Swift wrote that she attempted to negotiate a deal for her first six albums but was met with an "ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive." Since then, the singer has embarked upon re-recording her entire back catalog, re-releasing updated versions of two of her albums, Fearless (Taylor's Version) and Red (Taylor's Version), in 2021.
Looking ahead, Braun said he has nothing but positive feelings about everyone involved. "I choose to look at it as a learning lesson, a growing lesson, and I wish everyone involved well," he said. "I'm rooting for everyone to win because I don't believe in rooting for people to lose."