Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato have parted ways with Scooter Braun, one of the most influential contemporary music managers – and noted foe of Taylor Swift, who embarked on rerecording her first six albums after he bought the rights to them, Billboard reports.
They join the Colombian reggaeton star J Balvin, who signed with Braun’s SB Projects in 2019 and departed his company in May.
Representatives for Justin Bieber have denied rumours that the Canadian pop star has also split from the manager who discovered him as a 12-year-old singing on YouTube, and steadied his career during periods of arrests and mental ill health. “I was not going to give up on him, I was not going to let him die,” Braun told the Guardian in 2018.
Braun appears to retain clients including Carly Rae Jepsen, Quavo of Migos, David Guetta, Black Eyed Peas and Ava Max.
Braun, 42, started his career organising parties when he was a student. He became executive director for marketing at So So Def Recordings, run by Jermaine Dupri, and later quit to start his own marketing company. In 2007, he formed the entertainment and marketing company SB Projects, and later Raymond-Braun Media Group, a joint venture with Usher.
Braun began managing Grande in 2013 and organised the One Love benefit concert that raised millions of pounds to support the families of the victims of the terrorist attack on her concert in Manchester in 2017.
He started managing Lovato in 2019, following the former Disney star’s near-fatal drug overdose. “Dreams came true for me,” Lovato (who uses she/they pronouns) said at the time. “I officially have a NEW MANAGER. And not just any manager but the one and only Scooter Braun.” Billboard reported that it was “time for Lovato to go in a new direction, even though she was thankful for her time with SB Projects”, and Lovato posted birthday wishes to Braun on their Instagram on 20 August.
Beyond discovering Bieber, Braun may be most notable for his dispute with Taylor Swift, which is perceived to have initially stemmed from his two and a half years managing Kanye West from 2015, as a feud between the rapper and pop star intensified.
In 2019, Braun bought Big Machine Records, run by Scott Borchetta, who had signed Swift as a teenage country songwriter. The sale gave Braun ownership over the masters to the six albums Swift recorded for the label. She claimed she had not been given the same opportunity to buy her masters outright, but to “earn” one back for each new album she recorded for the label.
Swift left Big Machine to sign with Universal, and embarked on a project to record like-for-like copies of her first six albums in order to reclaim ownership of the master recordings and devalue Braun’s investment: any films or advertisements looking to sync her music would only be able to use the Swift-owned copies she has nicknamed Taylor’s Versions. The project has been a massive commercial success: the rerecording of 1989 is due for release in October.
In 2020, Braun sold the masters, associated videos and artworks to Shamrock Holdings, a private equity firm owned by Disney. Swift wrote a number of songs believed to be about the situation, including My Tears Ricochet, Karma and Vigilante Shit.
In 2023, Braun became the sole CEO of Hybe America, the US division of the South Korean entertainment giant.
In 2021, Braun filed for divorce from his wife Yael Cohen. The couple have three children.