Public Warfare: Who Wins and Loses in the Taylor Swift, Scooter Braun Scuffle? 


You all need to calm down.

Kayleigh Taylor, Head of Content Strategy, Hot Paper Lantern

If you’re Taylor Swift, you can’t walk to you car without making headlines. So when you write an impassioned Tumblr post calling one the music industry’s top managers a bully, you’re going to cause a stir.

In case you live under a rock, Swift’s prior label, Big Machine Records, announced its sale to Scooter Braun yesterday, and Swift is furious. The sale means her first six albums – her life’s work – now belong to Braun, and evidently he and Swift have beef. She thinks he previously tried to damage her career through his clients, Justin Bieber and Kanye West, and suggests the move was a deliberate attempt to control her.

A number of high-profile celebrities immediately weighed in on her claims, which she shared over Tumblr just hours after the sale announcement. Some showed solidarity – most notably her friends Todrick Hall, Cara Delavigne and Halsey – but not everyone thinks she’s telling the full truth. Bieber and Braun’s wife, Yael Cohen Brauns, struck back with fiery Instagram posts saying Swift crossed a line attacking Braun’s character, that her allegations were false, and that if anyone’s a bully, it’s Swift herself.

So, what now? Was it worth it for Swift to go public with her claims? Has she accomplished anything more than a few burned bridges? 

If she was just hoping to raise awareness about the dangers of signing with a label, she’s certainly accomplished that. There isn’t a single major news publication in the US that hasn’t covered the story, and her fans are making serious waves on social media. Consider any aspiring pop star warned.

If she wanted to position herself as the “good” in the battle between good and evil, she probably hasn’t convinced anyone but her superfans, who would have followed her to the end of the earth anyway. Swift has a reputation for playing the victim, and even some of her fans are turned off by all the drama. After being caught in a lie in 2016, Swift went into a self-imposed exile for two years, but even that wasn’t enough to shake off the reputational damage. For anyone on the fence about whether she can be trusted, this was probably the last straw. 

In either case, Swift has some material for her next album. Hopefully she won’t go into hiding for two years before letting us hear it.

Kayleigh TaylorAbout the Author: Kayleigh Taylor heads up Content Strategy at Hot Paper Lantern, where she works with leading brands to tell and promote their best stories.