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Who is Scooter Braun? We Investigate the Music Mogul’s Recent Controversies

Take a closer look at Braun's relationship with music's biggest stars.
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Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Kanye West’s music may appeal to vastly different audiences however, they do share one thing in common; their management.

Best known for being the man behind Bieber Fever, music executive Scooter Braun has been linked to some of the music industry’s most high-profile artists.

Watch Below: Emma Watson supports Taylor Swift in Scooter Braun scandal

Braun made headlines in 2019 following his highly publicised dispute with Taylor Swift, with Braun reportedly not allowing Swift to perform music from her first six studio albums following his acquisition of her masters.

Recently, Braun has also re-entered the spotlight following reports that his clients Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Justin Bieber would be cutting ties with his management firm. As rumours continue to circulate surrounding his connection to his A-list clients, we take a closer look at Scooter Braun and his relationship with some of music’s biggest stars. 

Who is Scooter Braun?

Scott ‘Scooter’ Braun is a 41-year-old American music executive and entrepreneur. 

Braun first entered the music industry in 2002, with the then-19-year-old appointed by So So Def Records director Jermaine Dupri as the executive director of marketing. Braun became well-known within the music industry for his opulent after-parties, including Britney Spears’ 2003 Onyx Hotel Tour.

Following his success at So So Def, Braun launched his own marketing agency. Braun’s first industry discovery came in 2008 when the music executive stumbled across a video of a then-12-year-old Justin Bieber on YouTube.   

Braun signed Bieber to RBMG Records in 2008, with the Canadian pop singer releasing his debut EP My World in 2009. Since signing Bieber, Braun has gone on to manage the musical careers of stars including Carly Rae Jepsen, Kanye West, David Guetta, Ariana Grande, and Black Eyed Peas.

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(Credit: Getty)

Why did Demi Lovato leave Scooter Braun?

According to Billboard, pop singer and former Disney star Demi Lovato reportedly cut ties with Braun in July 2023. 

Lovato first signed to Braun’s SB Projects in 2019, with the star releasing albums Dancing with the Devil… the Art of Starting Over (2021) and Holy Fvck (2022) under Braun’s management.

The publication reports that sources close to Lovato have stated that “it was time for Lovato to go in a new direction, even though she was thankful for her time with SB Projects.” Lovato reportedly has not signed with another management agency however, it is believed that conversations surrounding her future management in the music industry are currently underway. 

Lovato’s rumoured departure from Braun’s management firm comes just over one month before the 31-year-old is set to release her upcoming rock album Demi Lovato Revamped. 

Representatives for both Lovato and Braun have declined to comment at this stage.

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(Credit: Instagram)

Why did Ariana Grande leave Scooter Braun? 

According to Billboard, Ariana Grande reportedly cut ties with Braun in August 2023. Sources speaking to the publication did not provide any explicit reasoning behind the alleged split however, they did state that Grande was reportedly no longer under Braun’s management.

Grande first signed with Braun’s SB Projects in 2013, with Braun managing the former Nickelodeon star throughout her transition from the television to the music industry. 

Both representatives for Braun and Grande have declined to comment on the rumoured split. 

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(Credit: Getty)

What happened between Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift?

The highly publicised dispute between Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun first began in June 2019, following Swift’s departure from Big Machine Records. 

Following the expiry of her record contract at Big Machine Records, Swift signed with Republic Records in November 2018. Braun subsequently purchased Big Machine Records from former CEO Scott Borchetta in June 2019. 

After his acquisition of Big Machine Records, Braun became the owner of Swift’s masters, music videos, and associated artwork for her first six studio albums. Swift attempted to purchase the rights to her masters, which Big Machine Records declined. Braun subsequently purchased the rights to Swift’s early catalogue, with Swift taking to Tumblr to ask her fanbase for support.

“It’s been announced recently that the American Music Awards will be honouring me with the Artist of the Decade Award at this year’s ceremony. I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show. 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 wrote. 

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Swift’s on-stage outfit at the 2019 AMA’s was viewed by many fans as a clapback at Braun, with her shirt sporting the names of her first six studio albums. (Credit: Getty)

Neither of these men had a hand in the writing of those songs. They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans… I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it. I’ve tried to work this out privately through my team but have not been able to resolve anything.”

In October 2020, Braun sold Swift’s masters to a Disney-owned private equity firm for $405 million USD. During the transaction, Swift publicly stated that she attempted to negotiate with Braun to purchase her masters, with Braun reportedly only willing to sell if Swift signed an NDA that prohibited her from speaking negatively about Braun, which Swift refused.

Swift has since gone on to re-record and re-release her back catalogue with the determiner ‘(Taylor’s Version),’ with Swift now owning the rights to each of her re-released masters. 

Has Justin Bieber left Scooter Braun?

Rumours surrounding Justin Bieber’s split from his manager Scooter Braun surfaced shortly after it was reported that Demi Lovato would be cutting ties with SB Projects. 

Sources speaking to Puck News stated that the long-time friends had allegedly not been in contact for a number of months. 

Representatives for both Braun and Bieber addressed the speculation surrounding Bieber’s potential split from Braun, telling Page Six that any reports claiming that the pair had parted ways were untrue. 

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(Credit: Getty)

What is Scooter Braun doing now?

According to Variety, the alleged influx of A-list clients cutting ties with Braun is related to Braun’s role as CEO of the American subsidiary of South Korean entertainment company HYBE. 

“All of Scooter Braun’s clients are under contract and negotiations have been going on for several months as Scooter steps into his larger role as HYBE America CEO,” a source told the publication. 

HYBE, which is responsible for the training and management of K-Pop giants BTS, acquired Ithaca Holdings, the parent company of Braun’s SB Projects, in April 2021 for $1.05 billion USD.

Since the sale, Braun has been promoted to the position of HYBE America CEO, with Braun now playing a primary role in ensuring the success of HYBE artists in the United States market.

It is unclear as to whether Braun’s rumoured prioritisation of his clients at HYBE America is correlated with the departure of some of Braun’s most high-profile clients however, sources claim that Braun’s “fervent desire to be seen as a good guy and his formidable ability to spin narratives in his favour” has impacted his relationships across the music industry. 

“He’s imploding. It’s a different world since the pandemic. You can’t just be an asshole like that anymore,” a source told Variety. 

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Scooter Braun alongside HYBE founder Bang Si-Hyuk and BTS. (Credit: Getty)

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