How much are Taylor Swift’s masters worth?
The country-pop record company Big Machine Label Group, one of the most successful independent labels in the country — and the longtime label home of megastar Taylor Swift — has been sold. It was purchased by Ithaca Holdings, an umbrella company owned by Scooter Braun, the manager of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, among others. According to anonymous sources quoted by The Wall Street Journal, the deal is valued at more than $300 million.
Big Machine Label Group was founded by Nashville music industry veteran Scott Borchetta and signed Swift as a teenager in 2006, shortly after the label’s founding; it has released all of her albums to date. As Swift was Big Label’s most successful artist by a wide margin, her catalog would have been a prized asset within the company’s portfolio.
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After announcing the sale — which had been rumored for years and had attracted interest from various companies, including from Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel — the shift in ownership prompted a heated back-and-forth between Swift, Borchetta and some in orbit around Scooter Braun, including Braun’s wife and Justin Bieber.
In a blog post on Sunday, Swift claimed to have been unaware of the deal before its announcement, and called the sale of Big Machine to Ithaca “my worst-case scenario,” alluding to Braun’s past involvement in feuds between her and artists he manages, including Kanye West. In the post, Swift says that overtures she made to purchase control of her master recordings from Big Machine were met with a proposal by the company that she found unacceptable.