A Complete Timeline of Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun's Feud

Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun have been embroiled in a public feud ever since the music manager bought the rights to the singer's master recordings of her first six albums

<p>Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty; Gregory Pace/Shutterstock</p> Taylor Swift, Scooter Braun

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty; Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

Taylor Swift, Scooter Braun

Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun’s complicated history is being explored in Discovery+ UK’s new docuseries Taylor Swift vs. Scooter Braun: Bad Blood.

Released on June 21, the new series details the singer and music manager’s early encounters leading to the drama that unfolded in 2019 when Braun purchased Big Machine Records from Scott Borchetta, a sale that included the masters of Swift’s first six albums.

The June 2019 sale led to a complicated battle between Swift and her former record label and eventually inspired the superstar to re-record her first six albums as a way to regain ownership of her music catalog.

Since announcing her plans to re-record in August 2019, Swift has released Fearless (Taylor’s Version), Red (Taylor’s Version), Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) and 1989 (Taylor’s Version), with only Reputation (Taylor’s Version) and Taylor Swift (Taylor’s Version) still to go.

While Swift has alluded to the Braun feud in her music (with pointed song lyrics on her Grammy-winning albums Folklore and Midnights), there will likely not be any more forthcoming; according to a statement in response to the documentary, Swift “has completely moved on from this saga.”

"None of these men will ever be able to take anything away from Taylor’s legacy as a songwriter, singer, director, philanthropist and advocate for artists’ rights,” the statement concluded.

From their early beginnings to the drama that has unfolded in recent years, here’s a complete timeline of Swift and Braun’s history in the music industry.

2009: Taylor Swift meets Scooter Braun for the first time

<p>Kevin Mazur/WireImage</p> Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber attend Z100's Jingle Ball 2009

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber attend Z100's Jingle Ball 2009

As detailed in Taylor Swift vs. Scooter Braun: Bad Blood, Swift and Braun first crossed paths when Justin Bieber (who was managed by Braun at the time), opened for Swift on her Fearless Tour. In 2011, Swift and Bieber reunited when they performed Bieber's hit song "Baby" during his guest appearance on her Speak Now World Tour.

In the 2011 concert film Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Braun talked about Swift being an inspiration for Bieber, recalling taking Bieber to see Swift perform at Madison Square Garden during her Fearless Tour.

March 2016: Scooter Braun becomes Kanye West’s manager shortly after he releases ‘Famous’ song

In March 2016, news broke that Braun would be taking on a new role as Kanye West’s manager. The partnership came just a month after West debuted his new song “Famous,” which featured a dig at Swift ("I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous").

The song reignited Swift and West’s long-running feud; West claimed that he had previously gotten permission from Swift to name-drop her during a phone conversation, and Swift released a statement denying it.

The drama was further escalated months later when Kim Kardashian released footage from the phone call between West and Swift (which was later found to be an incomplete record of the conversation) and the hashtag #KimExposedTaylorParty started trending.

August 2016: Justin Bieber alludes to ‘Famous’ drama with a photo of him, Kanye West and Scooter Braun

As the internet began taking sides in the West-Swift drama, Bieber alluded to the feud on social media as he posted a FaceTime call between him and West and Braun, simply captioning the post, “Taylor swift what up.”

Years later, Swift referenced the photo in response to Braun buying her masters, claiming that she received “incessant, manipulative bullying” from Braun for years — “like when Kim Kardashian orchestrated an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call to be leaked and then Scooter got his two clients together to bully me online about it."

November 2018: Taylor Swift signs with Universal Music Group

After parting ways with Big Machine Records, Swift announced that she had signed a new worldwide record deal with Universal Music Group in November 2018. Through the new deal, she pointed out that she would own “all of my master recordings that I make from now on."

June 30, 2019: Scott Borchetta sells Big Machine Records to Scooter Braun — and Taylor Swift reacts

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty</p> Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta

Less than a year later, news broke that Scott Borchetta had sold Big Machine Records — and with it, the rights to Swift’s master recordings — to Braun in a reported $300 million deal.

That same day, Swift reacted to the sale in a lengthy Tumblr post. She noted that “for years” she pleaded with Borchetta “for a chance to own” her work, but instead, he gave her the “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.”

She noted that she decided to walk away from Big Machine, knowing that Borchetta would eventually sell the label, “thereby selling me and my future,” she wrote.

The singer continued on to say, "I learned about Scooter Braun's purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I've received at his hands for years." She pointed to various examples, including Bieber’s aforementioned FaceTime call with Braun and West.

“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.”

June 2019: Celebrities take sides in the Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun feud

Following Swift’s Tumblr post, celebrities swiftly reacted online, with stars including Selena Gomez, Halsey and more siding with Swift, and Braun’s clients such as Demi Lovato and Bieber coming to his defense.

Bieber, in particular, wrote a lengthy Instagram message apologizing for his 2016 Instagram post, denying that Braun was responsible for any bullying. “Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you.!” wrote Bieber. “What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? Seems to me like it was to get sympathy u also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully scooter. Anyway, One thing I know is both scooter and I love you.”

Bieber concluded, “Neither scooter or I have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you. I usually don’t rebuttal things like this but when you try and deface someone I loves character that’s crossing a line.”

August 2019: Taylor Swift reveals her plans to re-record her first six albums

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty</p> Taylor Swift interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Taylor Swift interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America

A few short months later, Swift publicly announced her plans to re-record her albums during an interview with CBS Sunday Morning.

When Tracy Smith asked Swift if she could re-record, Swift responded with an empathic, "Oh yeah." Smith then asked, "That's a plan?", to which Swift responded, "Absolutely."

She later confirmed the news during an appearance on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts while promoting Lover, her first album recorded apart from Big Machine and owned by her.

November 14, 2019: Taylor Swift alleges that Big Machine is blocking her from singing her past hits at American Music Awards

In November 2019, Swift spoke up again to allege that Big Machine was blocking her from singing her past hits in a medley at the American Music Awards, at which she was set to receive Artist of the Decade.

In a lengthy statement on X, Swift revealed that Borchetta and Braun "have now said that I'm not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I'm allowed to next year."

She concluded her statement by asking her fans to "please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this" and encouraging them to make their thoughts known to Braun's roster of artists as well, saying, "I'm hoping that maybe they can talk some sense into the men who are exercising tyrannical control over someone who just wants to play the music she wrote."

Following Swift's statement, Big Machine made one of its own, claiming that what Swift had said was “false information.” The statement continued, “At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special. 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 in which we do not financially participate."

November 24, 2019: Taylor Swift makes a sartorial statement at the American Music Awards

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty </p> Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 2019 American Music Awards

Kevin Winter/Getty

Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 2019 American Music Awards

After some back and forth between Swift and Big Machine Records, the singer was given the go-ahead to sing her early hits at the AMAs.

Ahead of the performance, both Big Machine and Dick Clark Productions released a statement that read, "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."

During the performance, Swift opened with the Lover song “The Man.” Though she didn’t make reference to Braun or Borchetta during her speech, she did allude to the masters battle by wearing a button-up shirt that featured the names of her first six albums.

December 12, 2019: Taylor Swift calls out Scooter Braun during Billboard Woman of the Decade award speech

<p>Rich Fury/Getty</p> Taylor Swift accepts the Woman of the Decade award

Rich Fury/Getty

Taylor Swift accepts the Woman of the Decade award

A month later, just as Swift was about to turn 30, she delivered a moving speech after she was honored with the first-ever Billboard Woman of the Decade award. In the speech, she called out the double standards women face in the music industry, before directly referencing her masters battle between Braun and Borchetta.

"Of course, Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale or even when it was announced,” Swift explained on stage. "I'm fairly certain he knew exactly how I would feel about it though 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 people in this room, you have something he needs."

"The fact is that private equity is what enabled this man to think, according to his own social media posts, that he could 'buy me.' Well, I'm obviously not going willingly," Swift asserted before praising the women who came forward to support her.

April 2020: Taylor Swift calls out Big Machine for release of live album

Swift’s battle with her former record label continued in April 2020 as Big Machine planned to release a new album of live performances titled Live from Clear Channel Stripped 2008, which she noted was “not approved” by her.

"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," she wrote, adding a crying-laughing emoji.

Swift concluded the post, writing, "In my opinion...Just another case of shameless greed in the time of Coronavirus. So tasteless, but very transparent."

July 24, 2020: Taylor Swift sings about her masters battle in Folklore

Swift's eighth studio album, Folklore, appeared to address her masters battle through her music for the first time. Her track "My Tears Ricochet,” which she revealed was the first song she wrote for the album, appears to be about leaving Big Machine behind and the hurt she felt when Borchetta sold the label to Braun.

November 2020: Scooter Braun sells Taylor Swift masters

Later that year, fans were thrown for another loop when it was revealed that Braun had sold Swift’s masters for more than $300 million. At first, fans assumed that it was Swift who bought back the rights, however, she later cleared things up on social media.

She shared a statement on X explaining that she had attempted over the past year to "enter into negotiations" with Braun to buy her work back but would have been required to sign an "ironclad NDA" stating she would only speak positively about the entrepreneur before being allowed to look at Big Machine's financial records.

Swift said that a private equity company called Shamrock Holdings was the one to purchase her masters from Braun — but that Ithaca Holdings would still profit off her old music for "many years," something the singer called "a non-starter for me."

Shamrock Holdings had contacted Swift in hopes of working together, but the "Lover" singer responded she "simply cannot in good conscience bring myself to be involved in benefitting Scooter Braun's interests directly or indirectly."

She added that she had begun re-recording her older music, a process that she called “both exciting and creatively fulfilling,” teasing that there were "plenty of surprises in store" for fans.

April 9, 2021: Taylor Swift releases Fearless (Taylor’s Version)

The following year, Swift made good on that promise as she released her first re-recorded album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version). The album included spot-on re-recordings of her original songs, while also including six new vault tracks that were previously unreleased.

The album was a hit just like the original, debuting at No. 1, becoming her ninth album to do so, according to Billboard. Additionally, the outlet reported that it was the biggest week for an album so far in 2021 as Fearless (Taylor's Version) is the only re-recorded album in history to reach No. 1.

June 2021: Scooter Braun speaks out about Taylor Swift drama

Though Braun had previously alluded to the masters drama with Swift in previous interviews, he openly addressed the conflict during an interview with Variety published in June 2021. When asked about Swift’s initial reaction to the Big Machine sale, Braun responded: "I regret and it makes me sad that Taylor had that reaction to the deal. … All of what happened has been very confusing and not based on anything factual.”

“I don’t know what story she was told,” he continued. “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.”

He added that what “struck” him the most about Swift’s initial statement was being referred to as a “bully.”

“I’m firmly against anyone ever being bullied,” Braun said. “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.”

October 21, 2022: Taylor Swift alludes to Scooter Braun drama in Midnights album

<p>Gotham/WireImage</p> Taylor Swift at 2022 MTV VMAs


Taylor Swift at 2022 MTV VMAs

As Swift released her 10th studio album, Midnights, she alluded to Braun yet again with her tracks “Karma” and “Vigilante S---.” The former addressed several of her public feuds, while the latter appeared to allude to Braun’s divorce from ex-wife Yael Cohen.

Among the lyrics in "Karma," Swift sings, "Spiderboy, king of thieves/ Weave your little webs of opacity/ My pennies made your crown/ Trick me once, trick me twice/ Don't you know that cash ain't the only price," Swift sings on “Karma,” seemingly making reference to Braun’s brand 100 Thieves and his purchase of her master recordings.

June 2024: Taylor Swift’s team reacts to new docuseries Taylor Swift vs. Scooter Braun: Bad Blood

Following the success of her re-recordings and the Eras Tour, during which she performs her extensive music catalog to fans, Swift gave a rare statement about Braun in response to the release of Taylor Swift vs. Scooter Braun: Bad Blood.

At the end of the two-part docuseries, a statement from Swift’s team reads that she “has completely moved on from this saga.”

“[She] has turned what started out as an extremely painful situation into one of the most fulfilling endeavors of her life,” the statement continued, referring to the superstar’s decision to re-record her first six albums.

"None of these men will ever be able to take anything away from Taylor’s legacy as a songwriter, singer, director, philanthropist and advocate for artists’ rights,” the statement concluded.

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