WTF is going on with Scooter Braun?
By now you would’ve seen the snowballing departures of some of Scooter Braun’s biggest stars. This entire debacle kicked off when rumours of Justin Bieber cutting ties with his long-time manager hit the internet, People reported that the two ‘haven’t spoken in nearly a year.’ Despite reps from both sites denying these rumours, it wouldn’t be the last of Braun’s troubles, in fact it would mark the start of an empire supposedly crumbling in front of our very own eyes.
Let’s go back to the beginning
The music mogul is perhaps best known for the discovery of Justin Bieber in 2008, this partnership launched both of their careers into mainstream success with Bieber becoming one of the most successful artists over the past decade.
Braun launched his own marketing and entertainment company, SB Projects in 2007, quickly racking up a roster of stars that helped to transform him into a household name and cement his place within the world of music executives and talent managers. As well as strengthening his status in the world of entertainment, the talent manager was flexing his entrepreneurial muscles as his holding company, Ithaca, merged with HYBPE in a deal valued at over $1 billion in 2021. This merger only elevated Braun into a higher stratosphere as he joined the board of HYBE which is home to some of the most well-known groups on the globe, such as BTS.
So, with Scooter seemingly on top of the world, how did it all go so wrong so fast?
First, we will have to look at who has left. As previously mentioned, the rumours surrounding Braun’s long-time artist, Justin Bieber, initially ignited the spark. The questions surrounding the situation would only get worse as the departures of Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande in quick succession added fuel to the flames until it eventually set alight the world of social media.
Thank you, next
Ariana Grande signed with SB Projects in 2013 and has released all of her subsequent albums under the management company, having gone through a scandal of her own as of late, the American songstress made headlines once again when she announced that she would be parting ways with Scooter albeit on friendly terms on 21st August.
Citing that she ‘wants something new’ as the cause of the split, no further details have been given to explain what provoked this change after a decade-long relationship with the music manager.
This wouldn’t be the only announcement that occurred on the 21st August as only a few hours before Grande’s announcement, we heard of Demi Lovato also cutting ties with Braun.
The former Disney star joined SB Projects in 2019, but four short years later they have also departed from the company. Lovato and Braun are still thought to be on good terms as their former music manager wished them a happy birthday on Instagram following the split.
These two announcements undoubtedly caused the most noise over the past week or so, but they are not the only high-profile artists to leave the company this year. With the world’s eyes now focused on Scooter Braun it wasn’t long before people started to dig into his past and found that Idina Menzel left SB Projects in January of this year and was shortly followed by J Balvin in May.
Why did they leave?
There have been no damning reasons provided for why so many artists have left this year and considering that Menzel and J Balvin left months before the likes of Grande and Lovato, it is possible that their reasons could be entirely different.
Although it has been sited that all of the break ups have been amicable, it seems strange for Grande at least to make the announcement halfway through the promotion of her upcoming tenth anniversary of her debut album Yours Truly which is set for release tomorrow.
Some have suggested that there could be a serious scandal on the horizon for Scooter leading many to jump ship early and cut all ties with the music mogul before they are taken down with him. Whilst these claims are completely unsubstantiated it should be noted that Braun has garnered somewhat of a reputation for falling out with former clients, as Anna Silman noted in her article for Business Insider that she has “never seen someone burn so many bridges.”
Speaking of burning bridges within the industry, we have to mention Braun’s most famous feud that once again brought him back into the spotlight but not quite in the way he would’ve liked.
The Taylor Swift v Scooter Braun feud was another firestorm that took over the internet in 2019. You can find the full backstory with one quick Google search, but the synopsis goes like this. Taylor’s former record label, The Big Machine Label Group, was sold to Scooter Braun, as a stand-alone sale there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with this, but once you add in the context the larger picture starts to become much clearer.
Swift signed to the record label at 15 years old and they have sole ownership off her entire music catalogue up until her seventh studio album Lover which was released on 23rd August 2019. It’s also worth noting that Swift and Braun are not on good terms as Scooter used to be Kaye West’s manager and stuck by the rapper when he had his own spat with Swift over that now infamous line in his song Famous.
The sale of the record label to Ithaca Holdings just added insult to injury for Swift and she took to Tumblr in a lengthy post to call out Braun and Big Machine founder, Scott Borchetta, accusing both of bullying her. This was refuted by Borchetta in his own statement, but this back-and-forth largely divided the opinions of those who watched on.
From this moment onwards, the general perception of Braun was largely dented as it was one of the first public fallouts that we had seen the manager have, as it played out for the world to see.
With the walls starting to close in, has the music manager started to dig his own grave?
None of us know just yet was has caused such a seismic shift away from one of the most prominent music execs over the past 15 years.
The HYBE CEO has seemingly poked fun as this topic of discussion with his own tweet stating that he is no longer managing himself. Following his appointment earlier in the year as the sole CEO of HYBE America, his recent transition away from his former clients could be seen as him taking a step back from his previous appointments in order to focus on his new role at HYBE.
We will have to wait for this story to unravel itself fully before any final conclusions can be formed but there is no smoke without fire and in the world of entertainment, there is no telling what twists and turns could be waiting round the corner.