Taylor Swift was honored as Billboard's first-ever Woman of the Decade on Thursday night at Billboard's Women in Music Awards, and she used her speech to call out Scooter Braun, who owns the master recordings to her first six albums. Braun's Ithaca Holdings purchased Big Machine Label Group over the summer for a reported $300 million, a situation Swift referred to on Tumblr at the time as her "worst case scenario."
"Of course, Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale or even when it was announced," Swift said in her speech. "I'm fairly certain he knew exactly how I would feel about it, though, and let me just say that the definition of the 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 rights to own their music. And of course he’s nice to you — if you're in this room, you have something he needs."
"The fact is that private equity is what enabled this man to think, according to his own social media post, that he could 'buy me,'" she continued. "But I’m obviously not going willingly."
In November, Swift claimed that Braun and Big Machine's Scott Borchetta told her that she was not allowed to perform her old music at the American Music Awards, which she ultimately ended up doing. Braun responded in an Instagram post addressed to Swift in which he wrote that "it almost feels as if you have no interest in ever resolving the conflict."
Swift shared in her speech that "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."
"I will never ever forget it. Like, ever," she said.
The 30-year-old added that she has seen "forward steps" in the industry over the past 10 years including strides in awareness, inclusion, fan engagement, social media and the ability to "start calling out unfairness and misconduct."
In her Billboard profile, Swift explained that she wants to use her position of success to "make noise" for new creators including artists, writers and producers.0comments
"I know that it seems like I’m very loud about this," she said, "but it’s because someone has to be."
Photo Credit: Getty / Frazer Harrison