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TAylor Swift at the VMAs

Taylor Swift Takes on Scooter Braun in Billboard Women in Music Speech

Gettyimages | Jamie McCarthy
By Joe Allen

During her Women of the Decade speech at the 2019 Billboard Women in Music event, Taylor Swift once again called out Scooter Braun. Braun's music company Big Machine Label Group purchased the master rights to Swift's first six albums, and allegedly attempted to prevent her from performing at the 2019 American Music Awards.

Braun responded to her initial claim, but that hasn't stopped Swift from continuing to call him out in public whenever she can. She has a platform, and she's using it.

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Taylor Swift on the red carpet.
Gettyimages | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

"This just happened to me without my approval, consultation, or consent," Swift said during her speech, which touched on the role of private equity in her rights issues. "After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright, my entire catalog was sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in a deal that I’m told was funded by the Soros family, 23 Capital, and that Carlyle Group."

Swift was careful to highlight that all of this was done without any attempt to consult her.

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"Yet, to this day, none of these investors have bothered to contact me or my team directly— to perform their due diligence on their investment — on their investment in me," the singer continued. "To ask how I might feel about the new owner of my art, the music I wrote, the videos I created, photos of me, my handwriting, my album designs."

In putting the conflict in terms of an investment, Swift is using the language of the people who purchased the album against them.

Taylor Swift performing live
Gettyimages | Kevin Winter

She continued saying, "And of course, Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale or even when it was announced. 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 right to own their music. And of course, he’s nice to you—if you’re in this room, you have something he needs."

Giphy | The Voice

In addition to withholding the rights to her own music from her, Swift is also careful to highlight the way that male privilege has made all of this more difficult.

Scooter Braun may be perfectly pleasant when you meet with him, but that doesn't matter much if he's ruining your life otherwise. In calling him out repeatedly in public, Swift is hoping to get some accountability. She just wants him to know what happens when you mess with one of the most powerful women in music.

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