Don't be fooled by the catchy nickname and skateboarder vibe. Scooter Braun is a major entertainment industry player, investor, manager, entrepreneur and then some.
What's the big deal?
Braun helped develop the careers of some of the world's most popular artists. He's credited with discovering Justin Bieber. Among the artists he's worked with are Psy, the Black Eyed Peas and Idina Menzel.
In 2013, Braun was named one of Time Magazine's "100 most influential people in the world." Fellow entertainment mogul and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg called him a "very savvy businessman and a creative visionary."
Why he's in the news:
A number of major artists are reportedly leaving his company SB Projects.
J. Balvin left in May. Now Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande are allegedly departing. Matthew Belloni of Puckreports that even Bieber might be looking for the exit.
Context: Taylor Swift
Braun most famously engaged in a bitter dispute with Taylor Swift over control of her recorded catalogue. In 2019, Braun's investment company Ithaca Holdings purchased Big Machine Records, the label that signed Swift when she was a teenager.
Swift, who left Big Machine in 2018, was appalled to learn Braun now owned the master recordings to her first six albums. She claimed that, among other restrictions, she was blocked from performing her songs.
In an interview with Variety, Braun said Swift's reaction made him "sad" and that, "All of what happened has been very confusing and not based on anything factual."
Ithaca Holdings has since been acquired by South Korea's HYBE, manager of the K-pop supergroup BTS, for $1.05 billion. Braun is now CEO of HYBE America.
With this string of alleged departures from his company, the optics aren't good for Scooter Braun. But the "savvy" businessman who dropped out of Emory to build his empire has an extremely diversified portfolio of interests and a robust roster of artists that any impresario would covet.
He also possesses formidable public relations skills that he could use to emerge from the current negativity. As Anna Silman reported for Business Insider last March:
"Braun became known for his cushy relationships with editors and journalists across the industry, according to six media insiders. The attitude at one major entertainment outlet was 'we don't speak badly' about Braun and his clients, according to one person."
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Corrected: August 23, 2023 at 12:00 AM EDT
A previous version of this story listed Carly Rae Jepsen as one of Scooter Braun's clients. While she is listed on Braun's company website, a spokesperson for Jepsen says Braun has not managed her since 2016. Jepsen is currently with Mick Management. The story also incorrectly stated that Post Malone is one of Braun's clients.
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