With Scooter Braun losing big-name clients like Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande in rapid succession recently, some may be wondering who, exactly, Braun is and what all the fuss is about. The series of stars announcing their decisions to part ways with the entertainment executive includes an “amicable” parting of ways between Braun and Demi Lovato as well as a split between him and Ariana Grande.
The longtime and high-profile talent manager works with a long list of clients and brands, as shown on his Scooter Braun Projects website. He also used to work with singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, who since has been very vocal about his ownership of her master recordings, which Braun sold to Ithaca Holdings in a way that made Swift feel slighted. More on that below.
Here’s the skinny.
Who Is Scooter Braun?
A 42-year-old Connecticut native, Scooter Braun began his career as a party organizer. He discovered Justin Bieber in 2007 via YouTube, bringing the young pop star to ultimate fame and fortune once he became Bieber’s manager (he also produced Bieber’s 2011 documentary “Never Say Never”). The talent manager has also shepherded the careers of Carly Rae Jepsen, Psy, Asher Roth and Cody Simpson among others.
In 2013, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg wrote a short description of Braun for Time Magazine’s most influential 100 people, describing him as “a very savvy businessman and a creative visionary.”
Founding Scooter Braun Projects in 2007, Braun established a portfolio of several acquisitions like Big Machine Label Group, Mythos Studios with Marvel Founding Chairman David Maisel, GoodStory Entertainment with JD Roth, Atlas Publishing and partnerships with companies like Jason Owen’s Sandbox Entertainment, Morris Higham Management and a partnership with Drake and Future.
SB Projects’ slate also includes the FX comedy series “Dave” and the CBS series “Scorpion.”
Who Does Scooter Braun Manage?
Other clients of Braun’s include The Black Eyed Peas, Post Malone, The Kid LAROI, Ozuna, Tori Kelly, Jeremy Zucker and Ava Max.
Which Artists Have Parted Ways with Scooter Braun?
Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande have recently announced their split from Braun. J. Balvin departed SB Productions in May, and Idina Menzel ended her partnership with Braun in January 2023 after signing a deal with him in 2019, according to The Hollywood Reporter. One of the biggest and most publicized feuds of Braun’s involves one Taylor Swift, who recorded her music with Big Machine Records for the first half of her career.
What Happened Between Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift?
First, Braun purchased Swift’s music catalog — which included her first six albums “Taylor Swift,” “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989” and “reputation” — in 2019 when his Ithaca Holdings LLC acquired Big Machine Records, the Scott Borchetta-led label Swift worked with at the beginning of her career.
Swift vocally fought against the acquisition as she wanted the opportunity to purchase her music herself. She took to Tumblr to explain that she had begged for the chance to own her own work long before the sale was made. Braun spoke about the decision on NPR’s “The Limit” podcast, where he expressed some regrets about how the deal went down as well as reflection on why it went the way it did.
“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,” Braun said at the time.
He sold the master rights to Swift’s recordings in 2020 to private equity company Shamrock Holdings, for upwards of $300 million according to Variety. Swift described a failed negotiation for her first six albums that ran into an “ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive.”
This kerfuffle ultimately led to Swift re-recording her first six albums with re-imagined cover artwork and extra bonus songs marked “From the Vault” for each album. The singer began officially owning the rights to her music with the launch of the 2019 album “Lover,” her seventh studio album.
She has re-recorded “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” “Red (Taylor’s Version),” “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” and will launch “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” on Oct. 27.
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