Taylor Swift accepted Billboard‘s Woman of the Decade award on Thursday night, and took the opportunity to throw some serious shade at nemesis Scooter Braun.
In her first public comments about the fracas since Braun posted his open letter on Instagram, Swift laid into the music manager, calling out the “unregulated world of private equity coming in and buying our music as if it’s real estate — as if it’s an app or a shoe line.”
She continued by directly addressing Braun’s purchase of her music from her former label.
“This just happened to me without my approval, consultation, or consent,” she said. “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. 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. 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.”
She continued: “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.”
Swift was far from finished. “The fact is that private equity enabled this man to think, according to his own social media post, that he could ‘buy me.’ But I’m obviously not going willingly. Yet the most amazing thing was to discover that it would be the women in our industry who would have my back and show me the most vocal support at one of the most difficult times, and I will never, ever forget it. Like, ever,” she added.
“I spent 10 years of my life trying rigorously to purchase my masters outright and was then denied that opportunity, and I just don’t want that to happen to another artist if I can help it,” Swift declared. “I want to at least raise my hand and say, ‘This is something that an artist should be able to earn back over the course of their deal — not as a renegotiation ploy — and something that artists should maybe have the first right of refusal to buy.’ God, I would have paid so much for them! Anything to own my work that was an actual sale option, but it wasn’t given to me.”
You can watch Swift’s speech in its entirety right here, shortly after the 1:30 mark.