Taylor Swift – not a lady to cross


‘Music is spiritual. The music business is not.’ Van Morrison

The fight between Taylor Swift and her former manager, Scooter Braun, has escalated. He has ownership of her early master recordings and rights to her back catalogue since he bought over the company she was contracted to in her mid teens. It’s an age-old story in the music business of young, naïve artists signing away their rights.

But her public denouncement of Braun has led to death threats against his family and we’re now into a ‘he said, she said’ ping pong battle with him claiming she refuses to negotiate and being mistaken in her initial claim of not being able to perform her old songs live.

Taylor Swift, 13 December 1989 New York, varying birth times, is a Sun Sagittarius with the highly-strung triple conjunction of Uranus, Neptune, Saturn conjunct her Mercury and opposition her Jupiter (Moon) in Cancer; plus she has an uber-determined Pluto conjunct Mars in stubborn and vengeful Scorpio. She’s quite a handful.

Scooter Braun, 18 June 1981, is Sun Gemini opposition Neptune, good for business and music though slippery. His Neptune is conjunct her Sun; his Uranus is in an explosive conjunction to her Mars; and his Saturn Jupiter in Libra square her Capricorn and Cancer planets. With her Saturn Neptune opposing his Venus in Cancer. Not an ideal mix.

Their relationship chart is on edge at the moment with tr Uranus trine the composite Mars and opposition the Pluto and that continues into February/March next year. By which time tr Pluto will start to square the composite Venus for two years which will be emotionally intense.

19 thoughts on “Taylor Swift – not a lady to cross

  1. I’m neutral about Taylor Swift, but am noticing several interesting connections of her birth chart with Prince’s. Prince, if you recall, changed his name to a symbol during his own fight with Warner Brothers.

  2. ft.com/content/25a4f9fe-0e6b-11ea-a7e6-62bf4f9e548a Financial Times has an article too – they say 3 sources told them BM refused to grant future licenses until they got 3 things: “that Ms Swift stop “slandering” them in the press; pay them $7m they claim she owed; and clarify her rumoured plans to re-record her catalogue”

    • They sound deeply nervous to me and are already losing money? I think Taylor’s power in her making such a huge amount of wealth is in releasing her music when its current to a fan base ready to consume her stuff that she helped build herself. So without that fan base, how can Braun make his money back? She is ALWAYS going to have much greater leverage in this, due to already cultivating a loyal audience (a bit like a writer building an email list – it gives them more money power and control each time they release something AWAY from other platforms like Amazon, who can shut down accounts as and when they please).

      This is just personal opinion, but I don’t know if her albums years after their release have as much money power as say when Queen, Elvis, etc release their stuff? But this doesn’t matter. It means Taylor’s power is in the NOW (as this is how the digital age is these days) as she releases her music when it comes to an audience she has built for the most part herself.

      For Braun, well, he’s holding a $300+ million back catalog that is probably not going to make his money back. So much for being a businessman. I think Swift could have taught him a thing or two about business and building customer relationships. But he’s the man, the dude. He knows it all. Like so many of them think they do.

  3. “In my previous situation, there were creative constraints, issues that we had over the years. I’ve always given 100% to projects, I always over-delivered, thinking that generosity would be returned to me. But I ended up finding that generosity in a new situation with a new label that understands that I deserve to own what I make. That meant so much to me because it was given over to me so freely. When someone just looks at you and says ‘Yes, you deserve what you want’, after a decade or more of being told ‘I’m not sure you deserve what you want’ – there’s a freedom that comes with that. It’s like when people find ‘the one’ they’re like, ‘It was easy, I just knew and I felt free’. All of a sudden you’re being told you’re worth exactly, no, more than what you thought you were worth. And that made me feel I could make an album that was exactly what I wanted to make. There’s an eclectic side to Lover, a confessional side, it varies from acoustic to really poppy pop, but that’s what I like to do. And, while you would never make something artistic based on something so unromantic as a contract, it was more than that. It was a group of people saying, ‘We believe in what you’re making, go make what you want to make and you deserve to own it too’.”

    — Taylor Swift if she had more creative freedom making Lover than on her previous albums, Music Week

  4. I have no inside knowledge or, to be truthful, much interest in the pop celeb scene. That businessmen are sharks goes without saying and when many millions are at stake they become even more Velociraptor-like. But just to pitch a little reality into the debate. When young singer/artists first appear as vestigial performers it’s the record companies that take the risk and foot the bills, so no surprises they expect to see a return from those they help up the success ladder.
    Managers get a bad press but without them many performers would never have made it to the top. Just saying. It’s not all about poor downtrodden starving artists.

    • “When young singer/artists first appear as vestigial performers it’s the record companies that take the risk and foot the bills, so no surprises they expect to see a return from those they help up the success ladder.”

      But it doesn’t work this way anymore. Digital platforms have changed this. You do not need a huge budget to target radio stations anymore, which is, essentially, what record companies served for from circa 1930 to to circa 2000. You can become a “viral” Youtube hit artist with a very limited budget. This is a model record companies have had problems adapting to (unlike, let’s say cosmetics companies, which are making record profits thanks to influencers not only using their products, but collaborating) and are struggling. Also, this has changed the role of a traditional manager.

      Taylor Swift is, above all, a digital marketing wonder on her own right. I don’t know if I could recognize her song (I tend to listen to oldies and European artists on, you guessed it, Spotify) but I know they are mostly about heartbreak thanks to Twitter. And Scooter Brown is very well known exactly for “hunting” for new talent in Youtube. Death threats are not fun, but since internet is his field, Scooter Brown too should know this can happen, crossing person who has 122 million Instagram and 85 million Twitter followers (12th and 5th biggest accounts, respectively, and these aren’t “hate follows” the way some accounts tend to be) respectively. There are some pretty fanatical people within those numbers.

      • Also, Taylor is songwriter on all of her songs and only songwriter on many, she isn’t just a singer. Taylor left Big Machine for Universal. Scooter bought BM. As I understand it, Taylor can rerecord her masters from nov 2020, Scooter and BM don’t want her to (devalues the worth of the original masters making up a large % of BM’s net worth?) so they said she couldn’t perform her music (AMAs Netflix China where they thought it would pressure her most) unless she agreed not to rerecord and also not to speak about them in public. Taylor is with Universal, she has cut her losses with BM and will rerecord (presumably so she can perform her music without reference to anyone else). For me her huge success has funded BM for 13 years – most songs don’t ‘last’ like hers do and it is Ok after a decade or so for artists to have their own masters back?

    • It’s true what you say, Marjorie. However, in the case of Swift, it’s not like it didn’t make Borchetta insanely rich, did it? His risk of taking her on paid off, over and over and over again. The difference with Taylor compared to someone like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, etc is, she basically creates this stuff top to bottom, helps in the production, etc. She is the sole creator of her work with a little help from others who might tweak it (and get paid to do so). Most pop stars today just have others writing music for them and they go out there like diligent little show ponies to present the music. If someone like Bieber stood up and started to demand he owned his own catalog, it would be absolutely ridiculous, because he NEVER created it. It was created FOR him as part of a brand.

      Also, interestingly, Taylor has cultivated her own audience from grass root levels before she was even signed up. From day one, she has been literally involved with many her fans lives, has them over to her house for album sessions, and is known to pay from anything from their medical bills, houses for those who are about to go homeless, baby showers, wedding gifts, chat with them on social media, etc. She cultivates an almost ‘friends’ like connection with them. Many artists who rise to the top only pay lip service to fans and don’t really give a toss until they lose everything. Taylor’s way is highly unusual but extremely effective in this digital age and would go a LONG way to explain why ‘Swifties’ are so darn quick to defend her. She is unlike anyone else out there in this respect.

      It also explains her popularity when she was signed. Borchetta would have seen the financial profit in this ever-growing fan base she was already growing it successfully herself. There wouldn’t have been much for the record company to do in growing an awareness for an artist, when she was already doing it herself. Taylor was never a poor, down trodden artist. She came with a VERY profitable fan base that was ripe as a money tree. Had this not been 2005 but TODAY, I wouldn’t doubt for a second that Taylor would probably have built her own recording studio and done that too by herself. Her family were never short of money. She just went the traditional way, because back then, even though it was just 15 years ago, that’s what you did. You went the traditional way. As Solaia said, the digital platform is changing MASSIVELY and Taylor has had a direct impact in this also. It changes EVERYTHING as we move forward.

      For example, take the growing popularity of self-published writers who can’t get a whiff from traditional publishers these days, even though these traditional industries are dying. When they see an author has cultivated a huge audience they suddenly want a slice of the pie. In fact, many self-publishers are now turning down these traditional publishers because the money is ‘not worth it’ and they can do very well all by themselves. Most traditional publishers expect you to do everything yourself anyway, especially when it comes to marketing, but they get to profit from it? I don’t think so. I’m glad they are dying off. This is the territory we are moving in because of the digital age. I can see the same happening for record company bosses too as more artists record and market from home.

      Talking of her work, even though I don’t mind her songs, if I am to be brutally honest (and its just personal opinion, so don’t shoot me swifties!), I’m not sure I see such longevity in her work in the way Queen, Elvis, Springsteen, etc have. She has a huge catalog of music and nearly 15 years later, only a small handful of the same songs get repeat plays on the airwaves. So it beggars belief, why Braun spent so much money on her music or as she said, ‘a man owning the most feminine body of work’?

      As for the future, I hope Taylor leaves the putrid cesspool that is mainstream pop music and their z-list disgusting behaviours and goes back east to Nashville and back into country, writing more songs for other artists, and even having her own record company. She has proven she would make a good mentor (as she’s good with people, despite the mainstream media character assassination), is very business minded (built nearly a half billion dollar fortune) and wants fairness right across the board (is not afraid to lock horns with the big guns). Maybe that is what she is here to change? Good luck to the woman.

  5. If Taylor has the right to rerecord ‘copycat’ masters starting from Nov 2020, and as songwriter can shut down use of the old masters to some or large extent, then the histrionics are on the side of the two SBs? They tried to pressure her with refusing to let her sing her old songs at the AMAs unless she doesn’t speak about them in public and doesn’t rerecord. Tree sent NYT a copy of the email, and a rebuttal, BM said they had come to an accord with AMA production company Dick Clark Productions to ‘a licensing agreement that approves their artists’ performances to stream post-show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms.

    They added that ‘recording artists do not need label approval’ for live performances
    Dick Clark Productions then denied having worked out any deal with Borchetta’s company.

    ‘At no time did Dick Clark Productions agree to, create, authorize or distribute a statement in partnership with Big Machine Label Group regarding Taylor Swift’s performance at the 2019 American Music Awards,’ a DCP spokesperson said in a statement, according to the outlet. ‘Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift’s management team. We have no further comment.’

    Taylor left BM for Universal so that her contract wasn’t sold into unknown circumstances with the company: she has no reason or need to meet with Scooter Braun. If anything he is desperate to try to get a hold over her. If you read Taylor’s chart as high vibrational and the placements functioning (turning a double negative into a triple positive) rather than crashing and burning what would that give us.

    This article has the death threat photo? https://varietybeat.com/2019/11/22/there-scooter-braun-goes-playing-the-victim-again/ No names to link it in any way to Scooter or Taylor. No date. It could come from anywhere. My feeling is that Taylor is frank and the swifties are frank, and from what I have seen this week, Scooter is anything but frank – everything he says absolutely needs clarifying and pinning down.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/scooter-braun-taylor-swift-feud-death-threats-letter-instagram-a9214331.html Scooter Braun doesn’t realize that good guys never have to use the Good Guy Defense.

    The thing is – it’s 2019 and things are a bit different now, and any grown woman will recognize a lot of small irritating details and red flags in the way he writes and in what he is saying, because we have to live that reality every day. So it just comes down to how thoroughly a person will look into what he’s saying, and those who actually put a little thought into that will find so many faults and red flags in his statement. Now of course, I don’t expect all journalists to actually think about it, because at the end of the day the article with most hits and best clickbait headline wins the race, right? So, with that said, I ask of you one thing – don’t interact with him. Don’t message back and forth with him, don’t share screenshots of conversation with him, obviously don’t send him threats cause all of that just plays to his advantage. Just ignore him, he’s gonna say what he’s gonna say – nothing you can do about it. What you can do is not give any validity to his words. As I said many times before, this is gonna be a long fight and all we can do is stick by Taylor, help her if we can – but do that carefully and respectfully.

    • the email sent to the NYT was refusal for the 11/11 event in China and the Netflix documentary

      Tree’s rebuttal: …28 oct: Please be advised that BMLG will not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its rerecording restrictions in connection with these two projects: the netflix documentary and the alibaba double 11 event. In addition…. Scott B flatly denied both the request for AMA’s and Netflix. Please notice in BM’s statement they never actually deny what Taylor said in her post. (BM) is trying to deflect and make this about money (when) …an independent professional auditor has determined that BM owes Taylor $7.9 million of royalties over several years

  6. Whether you like her or not, her fight, I believe, will probably determine how artists are treated in the future, as in the past, she has fought battles for unknown and upcoming artists to have more control of their works and come out winning not just for herself, but for them too. Doesn’t sound that selfish to me. So, even if that is her role in the grand scheme of things, its not a bad thing.

    For Braun and Borchetta to previously imply (can’t remember exact words) that she was basically okay with signing her stuff away in private but then began making a hissy fit in public for attention just wreaks of typical male deceit on their part. Swift is very well-known for being ‘controlling’ of her brand and image (I hate this term, because if she were male, it would be ‘rightfully taking a stand for their work’). Also, in July 2014, she wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal and stated: “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.” That was five and a half years ago. Doesn’t sound like she’d give everything up she created herself to me, and it clearly comes across as very important to her.

    If she were not female, these stories would barely get the spotlight they are given. But because it is, we all get to see the awful misogyny come out in full display from both men and women. I think her role, from a spiritual perspective (the roles we come here to do), is to help change what has always traditionally been in men’s favour and plugs into the zeitgeist at the moment.

    As I said before, it doesn’t matter if you’re the bin man or a waitress who has created a record or written a book, you should fundamentally own your own creation. Even if were someone I couldn’t stand who was in the same boat as Taylor, they still deserve to OWN their own work. Good luck to her because I think this is SUPPOSED to be bigger than her, Braun, and Borchetta all put together.

    Hopefully, it will change things for other upcoming artists, who at present are nothing more show ponies who are often ran into the ground by greedy record company men, and who often have very little control over their work, no matter what the illusion shows on the world stage.

    • Thank you, Jo. Well said. This is much bigger than the three of them. For far too long artistic endeavors have been controlled by certain organizations and power brokers. Time for the artists to be paid.

    • I’ve heard some sinister stuff about him (time will reveal if it turns out to be true – but he’s powerful, has money and connections, so I wouldn’t hold my breath). And that nasty wife of his? My god. Taylor is normal and boring in comparison, I’m afraid, Jay.

    • Hey Jay…what million-single sellers have you released lately? Lighten up.

      She may be ecccentric but she’s pretty, rich, and talented. Which of those four attributes do you market?

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