First J Balvin, then Demi Lovato, and now, reportedly, Ariana Grande. The list of stars purportedly parting ways with manager Scooter Braun appears to be growing.
The music mogul has worked with several big names over the years, including Usher, The Black Eyed Peas and Call Me Maybe singer Carly Rae Jepson. Long-time client Justin Bieber is also reportedly looking for new management, although both the 29-year-old and Braun have denied the claims.
But who is Braun? And why does his A-list client roster seem to be shrinking?
What Does Scooter Braun Do?
Making Billboard’s “30 Under 30” list in 2009, Braun began his music career promoting parties in Atlanta. At just 20 years old, Braun was picked from the local club scene by rapper and producer Jermaine Dupri, who hired him to be his record label So So Def’s executive director of marketing.
In 2008, he co-founded the Raymond Braun Media Group with R&B artist Usher. But Braun’s true career break was spotting a 14-year-old Justin Bieber singing on YouTube. Braun turned the now-29-year-old into a teen idol and has been managing the star’s career ever since.
The Taylor Swift Feud Explained
Although his client list is impressive, few industry outsiders knew Braun’s name until 2019, when the 42-year-old’s feud with Taylor Swift began. Braun supported ex-client Kanye West through the second half of the Swift-West debacle, sparked by the rapper’s song Famous.
The track includes sexual references to Swift, along with a music video featuring a mannequin of her likeness in bed with West. The singer claimed that she never approved the lyrics, but West’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian shared a Snapchat recording of Swift suggesting otherwise.
In 2019, Braun purchased Big Machine Records—Swift’s former label—through his business Ithaca Holdings for about $330 million. The 33-year-old songstress’s first six albums were produced during her time there, but she didn’t have ownership rights to the recordings.
By purchasing the label, Braun owns the rights to the albums Taylor Swift (2006), Fearless (2008), Speak Now (2010), Red (2012), 1989 (2014) and Reputation (2017).
In a lengthy Tumblr post, Swift called the acquisition a “betrayal” and described Braun’s behavior as “manipulative bullying.”
“My musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it,” she wrote. “This is my worst case scenario.”
The purchase caused outrage among the singer’s devoted fanbase, with many speculating that her track “Vigilante S***” is about Braun. Swift has since announced that she will be using her writing credits to re-record her first six albums, dubbed “Taylor’s Version.”
Why Are Stars Leaving Scooter Braun?
Columbian singer J Balvin was the first client in 2023 to leave Braun’s roster, jumping ship for Jay-Z’s entertainment agency Roc Nation Management in May.
On Monday, Demi Lovato announced that she was severing ties with Braun, and according to Billboard, she is searching for new representation. The 31-year-old singer signed with Braun in 2019, with sources telling Billboard that the move was “amicable” and “time for Lovato to go in a new direction.”
Ariana Grande is also reportedly leaving SB Management, although her reasons have yet to be confirmed. The 30-year-old hitmaker signed with Braun in 2013 and released six albums during their time together.
So far, Bieber has denied that he is searching for new management. Still, speculation about why so many clients have cut ties with Braun in such a short space of time is rife on social media.
“Some expose is brewing I think,” wrote X user @moviesforsoul.
“There’s gotta be some bad press coming out about him soon and they are all jumping ship to avoid going down with him,” agreed Kel Bel.
“Tag me when the news comes out,” said iDoctor.
“Oh my god the tea is HOT, but hell is HOTTER,” wrote Church. “Can’t wait.”
Fans of Swift seemed pleased by the development, with Richard Lewis calling it a “delicious spectacle” and “Guilt-free schadenfreude.”
“Oh for reals steven, karma never forgets,” commented the viiibe.
“‘Maybe I got mine but you’ll all get yours,’” wrote @sourforevermore, quoting Swift’s hit “Look What You Made Me Do.” While @dissectmarkets said: “It’s like Taylor Swift writing a breakup song and watching everyone join the chorus.”
Newsweek has reached out to Scooter Braun for comment.
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