Braun purchased Swift’s longtime label, Big Machine Records, in 2019, plus the rights to the master recordings of Swift’s first six studio albums. Later, in November 2020, Braun sold the masters to an investment fund in a deal that is believed to be north of $300 million.
At the time of the original sale, Swift condemned Braun, labelling him a “bully” and “the definition of toxic male privilege in our industry”.
Braun, for context, is one of the most well-known music managers in the business, overseeing the careers of pop stars like Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande. Earlier this year, Braun’s Ithaca Holdings merged with South Korean entertainment conglomerate HYBE, who famously introduced K-pop group BTS to the world.
In an interview with Variety, Braun commented on the public fallout with Swift, who is currently re-recording the masters to her first albums with Universal Music Group.
“I regret and it makes me sad that Taylor had that reaction to the deal,” Braun said. “All of what happened has been very confusing and not based on anything factual. I don’t know what story she was told. I asked for her to sit down with me several times, but she refused. I offered to sell her the catalog back and went under NDA, but her team refused. It all seems very unfortunate. Open communication is important and can lead to understanding. She and I only met briefly three or four times in the past, and all our interactions were really friendly and kind. I find her to be an incredibly talented artist and wish her nothing but the best.”
In November 2020, Swift said, “[Braun] would never even quote my team a price” and that she was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement that would “silence [her] forever.” Braun’s team disputes the claim.
"I would have to sign a document that would silence me forever before I could even have a chance to bid on my own work,” Swift wrote in a social media post at the time. “My legal team said that this is absolutely NOT normal and they've never seen an NDA like this presented unless it was to silence an assault accuser by paying them off. He would never even quote my team a price. These master recordings were not for sale to me."
“The thing that struck me the worst is the word ‘bully’,” Braun continued. “I’m firmly against anyone ever being bullied. I always try to lead with appreciation and understanding. The one thing I’m proudest of in that moment was that my artists and team stood by me. They know my character and my truth. That meant a lot to me. In the long run, I’m happy for my life’s work to be the legacy I leave behind.”
The Independent has reached out to Swift’s representation for comment.