Like a bottle of wine, Taylor Swift’s old masters have slipped away once again. Scooter Braun and his Ithaca Holdings LLC have sold the master rights to Taylor Swift’s first six albums, 2006’s Taylor Swift through 2016’s Reputation, to an unknown investment fund, according to Variety. Sources told the magazine that they sold for over $300 million and the deal closed during the past two weeks. Ithaca Holdings previously purchased Scott Borchetta’s label Big Machine in June 2019, a move that Swift was loudly critical of at the time. She left Big Machine in 2018 and released her last two albums, Lover and folklore, through Universal Music Group.
Coincidentally, Swift’s contracts on her first five albums went up at the beginning of November, meaning she’s now free to re-record those, as she has stated she plans to do. Depending on how soon those new recordings come out, the rights to Swift’s original masters could become obsolete fairly quickly. As Variety noted, that makes this a smart deal for Braun, who the magazine said “profited handsomely” off the sale from his initial acquisition of Big Machine. Unless, of course, Taylor Swift herself is behind the unnamed investment group? That’d be some five-dimensional chess only she could pull off.
Update: On Monday, Swift posted a statement regarding Braun’s decision to sell. According to the singer, she had allegedly been contacted by Shamrock Holdings, the private equity group, founded by Roy E. Disney’s family’s firm, that purchased her masters, prior to the sale, but declined to work with Shamrock after realizing their deal would still involve Braun’s participation in some capacity.
“As soon as we started communication with Shamrock, I learned that under their terms, Scooter Braun will continue to profit off my old musical catalog for many years,” Swift writes. “I was hopeful and open to the possibility of a partnership with Shamrock, but Scooter’s participation is a non-starter for me.” You can read the singer’s full statement below.
Update Monday 10:45 p.m. ET: Shamrock Holdings issued a response to Taylor Swift’s comments about the group purchasing her masters.
“Taylor Swift is a transcendent artist with a timeless catalog, We made this investment because we believe in the immense value and opportunity that comes with her work. We fully respect and support her decision and, while we hoped to formally partner, we also knew this was a possible outcome that we considered. We appreciate Taylor’s open communication and professionalism with us these last few weeks. We hope to partner with her in new ways moving forward and remain committed to investing with artists in their work.”