The dispute went public this month when the 29-year-old performer said she might cancel her scheduled performance at the American Music Awards and postpone a Netflix documentary because Braun and Scott Borchetta, of her former label Big Machine Label Group, refuse to let her perform her earlier music. She asked her outraged fans to share their feelings with the two executives, winning support from presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, and Creedence Clearwater Revival singer John Fogerty.
Swift's master recordings came under Braun's control after he acquired Borchetta's Big Machine Label Group for $300 million in June, a purchase backed by the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm. She'd intended to perform a medley of her hits spanning the decade at the AMAs, but said Braun and Borchetta claim playing the songs on TV would be “re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year.”
In a statement posted online, Big Machine denied the accusation, insisting that Swift owed the label millions of dollars.
“When there’s a lot of things being said and a lot of different opinions, yet the principals haven’t had a chance to speak to each other, there’s a lot of confusion,” he said, according to In Touch Weekly. “We live in a time of toxic division.”
When Braun returned home that evening, he learned his wife "had received a phone call threatening the safety of our children," he wrote early Friday morning in a three-page missive on Instagram, sharing additional threats he had received.
“While I am frustrated with your accusations and respectfully disagree with many of your statements, it is important that I am clear – no artist should ever feel cornered or bullied,” he said. “I have spent my entire career in service of creatives and artists, never the other way around.”
The country-singer-turned-pop-star, who topped Forbes’ list of “The World’s Highest-Paid Women in Music 2019,” will be honored at Sunday night’s award show as “Artist of the Decade.”
I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it.
“I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show,” she said in a Twitter message on Nov. 14. “Scott Borchetta and Scooter 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.”
Swift also announced in the post that Netflix had been working on a documentary about her life.
“Scott and Scooter have declined the use of my older music or performance footage for this project, even though there is no mention of either of them or Big Machine Records anywhere in this film.”
Braun, who said he believes the dispute with Swift can still be resolved, lamented people using social media to air grievances rather than trying to work them out in person. “I don’t like politicians doing it. I don’t like anybody doing it,” he reportedly said.
Both Warren and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also a Democrat, have commented on Swift's dispute with Braun on Twitter, arguing that the dispute illustrates how private equity firms are harming Americans.
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.
"I am certain there is no situation ever worth jeopardizing anyone's safety," Braun wrote to Swift on Instagram. "It is important that you understand that your words carry a tremendous amount of weight, and can be interpreted by some in different ways."
FOX Business reporter James Leggate contributed to this report.