A Timeline of the Drama Between Taylor Swift, Scooter Braun, and Scott Borchetta

The drama between Taylor Swift, Scooter Braun, and Big Machine Records founder Scott Borchetta has been stirring for the past nearly four years, coming to light again with each release of Swift's rerecorded albums. Ever since Braun acquired Big Machine Records on June 30, 2019, there have been multiple reports from both sides about what really went down. Though Swift has worked very closely with Borchetta during her 13-year career — Swift was the first artist Borchetta signed when he created Big Machine in 2005 — their relationship has changed drastically in the past few years.

Following Swift's tremendous success with her sixth album, "Reputation," the singer decided to take her career in a brand-new direction. In November 2018, she announced she was leaving Big Machine Records and signing with Republic Records and Universal Music Group. The new deal not only gave Swift ownership of any future masters but also ensured that any sale of the label's shares in Spotify "will result in a distribution of money to their artists," she wrote in an Instagram post.

Though Swift and Borchetta appeared to be on good terms when she left Big Machine Records, that all changed when Braun acquired the label, along with the music catalog of Swift's first six albums. Following the acquisition, Swift made her thoughts well known with a lengthy Tumblr post that deemed the sale her "worst-case scenario."

During an appearance on Bloomberg's "Idea Generation," which aired on Feb. 27, 2023, Braun addressed the years-long drama once again, fanning the flames of the continued feud. Keep reading to learn about everything that's happened since the acquisition.

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June 30, 2019: Scooter Braun Acquires Big Machine Records
Getty | Kevin Mazur

June 30, 2019: Scooter Braun Acquires Big Machine Records

On June 30, it was announced that Braun's media company, Ithaca Holdings, had acquired Borchetta's Big Machine Label Group for $300 million. Through the deal, which was backed by global investment firm The Carlyle Group, Braun also acquired Swift's music catalog for her first six albums with Big Machine.

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June 30, 2019: Taylor Swift Responds to Big Machine Acquisition With a Tumblr Post
Getty | Frazer Harrison

June 30, 2019: Taylor Swift Responds to Big Machine Acquisition With a Tumblr Post

Shortly after the acquisition was made public, Swift responded by sharing a lengthy letter on Tumblr, which detailed her decision to leave Big Machine in November 2018 and why the sale to Braun was her "worst case scenario."

"For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work," Swift started her blog post. "Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and 'earn' one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, [Big Machine Records founder] Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums."

She then called the sale to Braun her "worst case scenario" and said that she had received "incessant, manipulative bullying" from him "for years," alluding to her feud with Braun's former client Kanye West back in 2016. "Now Scooter has stripped me of my life's work, that I wasn't given an opportunity to buy," she continued. "Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it."

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June 30, 2019: Scott Borchetta Responds to Taylor Swift's Statement
Getty | Rick Diamond

June 30, 2019: Scott Borchetta Responds to Taylor Swift's Statement

Later that day, Borcheetta posted a statement to Big Machine Records' website, saying that he intended to "set some things straight." He revealed that Big Machine alerted all shareholders (which included Swift's father, Scott Swift) on June 20 about an official shareholders' call about the pending deal with Ithaca Holdings. He also claimed that he personally reached out to Swift, via text message, on June 29 to alert her of the deal before it went public.

"I guess it might somehow be possible that her dad Scott, 13 Management lawyer Jay Schaudies (who represented Scott Swift on the shareholder calls) or 13 Management executive and Big Machine LLC shareholder Frank Bell (who was on the shareholder calls) didn't say anything to Taylor over the prior 5 days," he said in the statement. "I guess it's possible that she might not have seen my text. But, I truly doubt that she 'woke up to the news when everyone else did.'"

Borchetta also claimed that Braun "was never anything but positive about Taylor," citing instances where the music manager reached out to see if Swift would participate in Ariana Grande's Manchester Benefit Concert and March For Our Lives, both of which she refused. During a Rolling Stone interview in September 2019, Swift clarified that she was never made aware of those events, saying, "Here's the thing: everyone in my team knew if Scooter Braun brings us something, do not bring it to me."

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June 30, 2019: Celebrities Take Sides in Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun's Feud
Getty | Kevin Mazur/TCA 2011

June 30, 2019: Celebrities Take Sides in Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun's Feud

Once both sides spoke out about the acquisition, celebrities began to take sides in the brewing feud. Swift's musician friends, such as Halsey, Brendon Urie, and Camila Cabello, championed the singer for speaking out about her right to own her own music, while Braun was backed up by his wife, Yael Cohen, and his clients Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato.

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Aug. 22, 2019: Taylor Swift Announces Plans to Rerecord Her First 5 Albums
Getty | Dia Dipasupil

Aug. 22, 2019: Taylor Swift Announces Plans to Rerecord Her First 5 Albums

Once the initial controversy had died down, Swift announced her plans to rerecord her first five albums in an attempt to regain her masters. "Yeah that's true, and it's something I'm very excited about," she told Robin Roberts during Good Morning America. "My contract says starting from November 2020, I can start rerecording albums one through five. I think artists deserve to own their own work. It's next year — I'm gonna be busy."

During a sit-down interview with "CBS This Morning" on Aug. 25, Swift also spoke out about Borchetta's choice to sell her masters to Braun, saying, "I knew he would sell my music, I knew he would do that. I couldn't believe who he sold it to. Because we've had endless conversations about Scooter Braun, and he has 300 million reasons to conveniently forget those conversations."

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Nov. 14, 2019: Taylor Swift Shares a Letter on Twitter Asking Fans For Help
Getty | Kevin Mazur/AMA2018

Nov. 14, 2019: Taylor Swift Shares a Letter on Twitter Asking Fans For Help

A week before accepting artist of the decade at the American Music Awards, Swift gave fans an update on her ongoing feud with Braun and Borchetta. "I've been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show," she said about the upcoming show. "Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun have now said that I'm not allowed to perform my own songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I'm allowed to next year." She also claimed that Braun and Borchetta are declining the use of her older music for an upcoming Netflix documentary about her life.

Swift then asked fans to reach out to celebrities who work with Borchetta and Braun in hopes that they can help her get permission to play her songs. "The message being sent to me is very clear," Swift added. "Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you'll be punished."

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Nov. 14, 2019: More Celebrities Side With Taylor Swift on Social Media
Getty | Steve Granitz

Nov. 14, 2019: More Celebrities Side With Taylor Swift on Social Media

Shortly after Swift shared her letter, fans and celebrities alike began to show their support with the hashtag "I Stand With Taylor." Halsey defended Swift in a handful of tweets and shared a video of her singing Swift's country hit "Mean," while Swift's longtime pal Selena Gomez voiced her thoughts in an Instagram Story.

"My heart is so heavy right now," Gomez wrote. "It makes me sick and extremely angry. (I don't mind if there may be retaliation) this is my opinion. It's greed, manipulation and power. There is no heart or thought of anyone else. No respect for the words my friend has written since she was a 14 year old in her bedroom. You've robbed and crushed one of our best song writers of our time an opportunity to celebrate all of her music with fans and the world."

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Nov. 15, 2019: Big Machine Records Denies Taylor Swift's Claims
Getty | Kevin Mazur/TAS18

Nov. 15, 2019: Big Machine Records Denies Taylor Swift's Claims

Big Machine later denied Swift's claims in a lengthy statement. "At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special," the label said. "In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere. Since Taylor's decision to leave Big Machine last Fall, we have continued to honor all of her requests to license her catalog to third parties as she promotes her current record [Lover] in which we do not financially participate."

Big Machine's statement also accused Swift of "contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets" to the company and its "120 hardworking employees who helped build her career."

Shortly after, Swift's publicist, Tree Paine, responded to Big Machine's statement on Twitter, saying that Borchetta "flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix." She also pointed out that in Big Machine's statement, "they never actually deny either claim" Swift made in her post. Tree also claimed that "a professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years."

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Nov. 18, 2019: Taylor Swift Gets Approval For Her AMAs Performance
Getty | Kevin Winter

Nov. 18, 2019: Taylor Swift Gets Approval For Her AMAs Performance

On Nov. 18, Swift was given permission to perform her old music catalog during the American Music Awards. "The Big Machine Label Group and Dick Clark Productions announce that they have come to terms on a licensing agreement that approves their artists' performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms," the statement to Variety read. "This includes the upcoming American Music Awards performances. It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media. Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists' audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed."

Shortly after, Dick Clark Productions denied that they had any involvement in the joint statement with Big Machine Records. "At no time did Dick Clark Productions agree to, create, authorize or distribute a statement in partnership with Big Machine Label Group regarding Taylor Swift's performance at the 2019 American Music Awards," a representative from the company told Rolling Stone. "Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift's management team. We have no further comment."

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Nov. 21, 2019: Scooter Braun Breaks His Silence
Getty | Michael Tran

Nov. 21, 2019: Scooter Braun Breaks His Silence

While speaking at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce event in LA, Scooter finally broke his silence on the drama with Swift. "I haven't talked about this in six months. Not once. I haven't made a statement about it," he began, per E! News. "I just think we live in a time of toxic division, and of people thinking that social media is the appropriate place to air out on each other and not have conversations. And I don't like politicians doing it. I don't like anybody doing it. If that means that I've got to be the bad guy longer, I'll be the bad guy longer, but I'm not going to participate."

He also added that he wants to have a "closed door" conversation with Swift to hash out their issues and "miscommunications." "It's hard, because I can handle it pretty easily, but when it gets to a place where there's death threats and there's offices being called and people being threatened . . . it's gotten out of hand," he explained. "Right now we're in a scary time where people say things and then people might not be in the right mindset and do really horrible things. And we're inciting all of this by continuing these arguments in public. We just need to go behind closed doors and see if we can have a conversation. And if we're not having conversations, then I don't think we're going to find resolution."

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Nov. 24, 2019: Taylor Swift Makes a Powerful Statement at the AMAs
Getty | Kevin Winter

Nov. 24, 2019: Taylor Swift Makes a Powerful Statement at the AMAs

During her American Music Awards performance for artist of the decade, the singer made a powerful statement about her music as she sported a shirt that featured the titles of her first six albums, which are now owned by Braun. Many fans pointed out that the album titles were printed in a prison-like font, perhaps suggesting that she feels like people have held her prisoner with her own work.

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Dec. 12, 2019: Taylor Swift Spills So Much Tea at Billboard's Women in Music Event
Getty | Rich Fury

Dec. 12, 2019: Taylor Swift Spills So Much Tea at Billboard's Women in Music Event

On the eve of her 30th birthday, Swift attended Billboard's Women in Music event, where she accepted the first-ever woman of the decade award. In her speech, Swift didn't hold back as she called out Braun for buying her music without her consent. "I'm fairly certain he knew how I would feel about it," she said about the acquisition. "And let me just say that the definition of toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying, 'But he's always been nice to me!' when I'm raising valid concerns about artists and their rights to own their music. Of course he's nice to you. If you're in this room, you have something he needs."

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Jan. 23, 2020: Scott Borchetta Tries to Make Nice
Getty | Joshua Blanchard

Jan. 23, 2020: Scott Borchetta Tries to Make Nice

During the 2020 Billboard Power Event, the Big Machine Records founder briefly spoke about the drama surrounding the label's acquisition. "We've always had a tough skin, so there's a great balance in the universe, great things have happened," he told Billboard. "Every once in a while, you're gonna get hit, but we're rocking." When asked if he's still rooting for Swift, he added, "Of course. I mean, I'm always gonna root for her. She's brilliant and we've had a historic run."

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Feb. 27, 2020: Taylor Swift Makes Reference to the Feud in "The Man" Video
Getty | Dave J Hogan

Feb. 27, 2020: Taylor Swift Makes Reference to the Feud in "The Man" Video

During her powerful music video for "The Man," the singer seemingly made reference to her ongoing battle to own her music. In one scene, we see graffiti that represents Swift's first six albums, which are now owned by Braun through his acquisition of Big Machine Records. There is even a sign that says, "No scooter allowed," along with another piece of graffiti that simply says, "Karma."

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April 23, 2020: Taylor Swift Puts Former Record Label on Blast For New Live Album
Getty | Kevin Mazur

April 23, 2020: Taylor Swift Puts Former Record Label on Blast For New Live Album

In an Instagram Story, the singer called out Big Machine Records for releasing a new live album without her consent. "Hey guys – I want to thank my fans for making me aware that my former record label is putting out an 'album' of live performances of mine tonight," she wrote. "This recording is from a 2008 radio show performance I did when I was 18. Big Machine has listed the date as a 2017 release but they're actually releasing it tonight at midnight."

She continued, "I'm always honest with you guys about this stuff so I just wanted to tell you that this release is not approved by me. It looks to me like Scooter Braun and his financial backers, 23 Capital, Alex Soros and the Soros family and The Carlyle Group have seen the latest balance sheets and realized that paying $330 MILLION for my music wasn't exactly a wise choice and they need money. In my opinion . . . just another case of shameless greed in the time of Coronavirus. So tasteless, but very transparent."

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July 24, 2020: Taylor Swift Details the Fight For Her Masters in "Folklore" Album
Getty | Rick Diamond/ACMA2013

July 24, 2020: Taylor Swift Details the Fight For Her Masters in "Folklore" Album

In her eighth album "Folklore," the singer seemingly makes references to the drama between her, Borchetta, and Braun in two different tracks. "My Tears Ricochet" appears to be about her departure from Big Machine Records and how hurt she was when Borchetta sold the label to Braun. "I didn't have it in myself to go with grace / And you're the hero flying around, saving face," she sings in the chorus.

On the other hand, "Mad Woman" appears to be about Braun gaining control of her masters. She also seems to reference how his wife Yael came to his defense after the singer shared her lengthy Tumblr post in June 2019. At one point, she sings, "They say 'move on,' but you know I won't / And women like hunting witches too / Doing your dirtiest work for you."

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Nov. 16, 2020: Scooter Braun Sells Taylor Swift's Master Rights For $300 Million
Getty | Bennett Raglin

Nov. 16, 2020: Scooter Braun Sells Taylor Swift's Master Rights For $300 Million

A year and a half after he acquired Big Machine Label Group and its assets, it was reported that Braun had sold Swift's master rights to Shamrock Holdings. The private equity group reportedly purchased the catalog for north of $300 million.

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Nov. 16, 2020: Taylor Swift Responds to Scooter Braun Selling Her Masters
Getty | Jamie McCarthy

Nov. 16, 2020: Taylor Swift Responds to Scooter Braun Selling Her Masters

In a Twitter post on Nov. 16, Swift shut down rumors that she'd purchased her catalog from Braun, revealing it had been once again been sold without her knowledge.

She began her statement explaining that her team had initially attempted to negotiate with Braun. "Scooter's team wanted me to sign an ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive, before we could even look at the financial records of BMLG (which is always the first step in a purchase of this nature)," she wrote. "So, 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. My legal team said that this is is absolutely NOT normal, but 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."

Swift went on to say that she received a letter from Shamrock Holdings, the private equity company that purchased her catalog. "This was the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge," she continued. "The letter told me that they wanted to reach out before the sale to let me know, but that Scooter Braun had required that they make no contact with me or my team or the deal would be off."

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Dec. 11, 2020: Taylor Swift Opens Up About Losing Her Masters in Evermore
Getty | ACMA2020

Dec. 11, 2020: Taylor Swift Opens Up About Losing Her Masters in Evermore

In her ninth album "Evermore," Swift seems to make more references to her broken relationship with Borchetta. In "Happiness" she talks about a former mentor who eventually did her wrong as she sings, "Tell me, when did your winning smile / Begin to look like a smirk? / When did all our lessons start to look like weapons / Pointed at my deepest hurt?"

In one of the album's bonus tracks titled "It's Time to Go," Swift talks about the hurt of leaving Big Machine Records as she sings, "15 years, 15 million tears / Begging 'til my knees bled / I gave it my all, he gave me nothing at all / Then wondered why I left." She then seems to make a pointed reference about Braun as she sings, "He's got my past frozen behind glass / But I've got me."

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April 9, 2021: Taylor Swift Releases Rerecorded "Fearless"
Getty | Jason Kempin

April 9, 2021: Taylor Swift Releases Rerecorded "Fearless"

In an attempt to gain control of her masters, Swift officially released the rerecorded version of her second album "Fearless" on April 9. "I've spoken a lot about why I'm remaking my first six albums but the way I've chosen to do this will hopefully help illuminate where I'm coming from," she wrote in the album's prologue letter. "Artists should own their own work for so many reasons, but the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really knows that body of work."

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June 23, 2021: Scooter Braun Speaks Out in Variety Cover Story
Getty | Emma McIntyre

June 23, 2021: Scooter Braun Speaks Out in Variety Cover Story

During a cover story with Variety about his career, Braun reflected on the Big Machine Records acquisition and Swift's reaction to it. "I regret and it makes me sad that Taylor had that reaction to the deal," he said. He then claimed that the details Taylor shared about the acquisition were "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," he continued, seemingly referencing when he sold Swift's masters to Shamrock Holdings in November 2020. "It all seems very unfortunate. Open communication is important and can lead to understanding." He added that he wishes Swift "nothing but the best" and finds "her to be an incredibly talented artist."

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Oct. 21, 2022: Taylor Swift Seemingly References Her Feud With Scooter Braun on "Midnights"

Oct. 21, 2022: Taylor Swift Seemingly References Her Feud With Scooter Braun on "Midnights"

Swift's album "Midnights" contains a few songs that could reference her feud with Braun in particular. The song "Vigilante Sh*t" contains the lyric, "She needed cold hard proof so I gave her some / She had the envelope, where you think she got it from? Now she gets the house, gets the kids, gets the pride / Picture me thick as thieves with your ex-wife," she sings. Fans have speculated that the song references Braun's divorce from Yael Cohen. Per People, Braun was ordered to pay $20 million to Cohen, as well as $60,000 in child support per month. The outlet first confirmed their divorce in 2021.

Fans also think that the song "Karma" is a dig at Braun and Borchetta. In that song, Swift sings about being unbothered by karma while someone who has done her wrong has a lot to worry about, and lyrics like "spiderboy, king of thieves" and "my pennies made your crown" do seem like references to the financial aspect of their betrayal.

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Feb. 27, 2023: Scooter Braun Addresses the Controvery on Bloomberg's "Idea Generation"
Getty | Vivien Killilea

Feb. 27, 2023: Scooter Braun Addresses the Controvery on Bloomberg's "Idea Generation"

On Feb. 27, Braun was a guest on Bloomberg's "Idea Generation" show, and he addressed the Big Machine acquisition as well as his "back-and-forth" with Swift. While he didn't use her name, Braun tried to have a zen attitude about it. "When you get to a certain point, people are going to to take shots," he said of his rise in the business.

He added: "I choose to look at it as like, these moments that you think someone is attacking you or these moments you think are unfair, one, you play a role in every one of these moments because you are part of the story. And two, you can choose to be angry, resentful, bitter, and actually become the story in your anger, or you can choose to say thank you for playing a role in my growth and move on. This whole process has led me to understanding that that's worth working towards."