Arts & Entertainment, Music

The Tribune has cut off Scooter Braun as their Social Media Manager

Music Manager Scott “Scooter” Braun is notorious for buying his ex-client Taylor Swift’s master recordings in 2019, preventing her legal access to the licensing and royalty rights for music she wrote. When this news went public, Braun’s other famous clients, namely Demi Lovato and Justin Bieber, defended him on social media. Now, it seems that Braun’s reputation is on the line—Lovato and Bieber, as well as Ariana Grande, Idina Menzel, and Carly Rae Jepsen, have cut ties with Braun. These departures all occurred in August, sparking speculation: Is this a case of established musicians deciding to go solo? Or are these the consequences of Braun’s rumoured mistreatment of his clients? 

Despite his public image as the manager of the 21st century’s biggest stars, Braun is believed to be a controversial character in private. Former clients such as Todrick Hall have stated that Braun behaves in a hostile manner to colleagues and clients alike and prioritizes himself and his legacy. He also neglects his clients, not putting in effort to the point where their careers dwindle—such as when Carly Rae Jepsen’s album Emotion was commercially unsuccessful

His feud with Swift has only further ignited these rumours. In her song “Vigilante Shit,” Swift sings, “While he was doin’ lines and crossin’ all of mine/Someone told his white-collar crimes to the FBI.” These lyrics are supposedly about Braun, as he faced a $200 million dollar fraud lawsuit in 2021. Although the case was resolved privately, it has not stopped the widely popular and derisive narrative of Braun’s nature from spreading. In the wake of these separations, Braun’s persona reveals his risky misunderstanding of the manager as a role in a star’s life. When should a manager overtake a star? How far could Braun climb before he fell?

Braun was also Ariana Grande’s manager for a decade, but sources have since revealed that Grande fired Braun for a six-month period following her split from Pete Davidson in 2018. The reason? Braun was intruding in her personal relationships—which seems far out of his job description. A source from Business Insider said that even Davidson was surprised at how much management was involved, because it prevented their relationship from truly getting a chance to develop. Although Grande cited their final separation as “friendly,” Braun’s involvement in his clients’ lives could be what put pressure on other departures. Braun was a “quasi-parental figure” to Bieber, for example, involved in all aspects of Bieber’s personal life, including his relationship with Selena Gomez.

In 2021, Braun sold his media investment company Ithaca Holdings to HYBE Entertainment, known for creating the K-pop group BTS. According to the corporate filing, Braun received 462,380 shares totaling US$86.2 million. In Jan. 2023, Braun was conveniently named CEO of HYBE America—so he doesn’t need to worry about his clients leaving him because of his wealth. He’s even joking about it on X. Braun still has his departed clients on his website though, stating that they are “past and present clients,” which only adds to his ongoing tragedy. 

After Braun denied Taylor Swift the opportunity to repurchase her masters from him, she took matters into her own hands. Swift re-recorded the tracks that Braun bought, and her versions outsold the originals. Coincidentally, after firing Braun, Grande and Lovato are also releasing re-recordings. Grande released a 10th-anniversary edition of her debut album Yours Truly, while Lovato released Revamped, which includes re-recorded rock versions of her songs. Whether these are a nod to the Braun-Swift feud or not, it is exciting to see artists standing on their own, because it appears that a career under Scooter Braun exceeds the boundaries of a typical manager-artist relationship. All cases considered, the nature of Scooter Braun’s celebrity has influenced this decision’s reception and circulation. Most importantly, and luckily for us, The Tribune has separated from him.

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