Taylor Swift‘s music catalog was purchased by Scooter Braun and his Ithaca Holdings company for a cool $300 million back in July of 2019, when he acquired the Big Machine Label Group. Swift has gone on record explaining that she was “upset,” because she wasn’t given the opportunity to purchase her masters prior to Braun’s acquisition. Hypothetically, if he decided to give Swift the opportunity to purchase her catalog, Swift would have to pay nearly double the price that he did, according to Billboard.
On December 31, Vivendi agreed to sell 10% of its stake in Universal Music Group to China’s Tencent, which may have changed the dynamics of music asset valuation. That three billion euro deal, which extends to about a $33.7 billion valuation for all of Universal Music Group (a multiple of 30 times earnings), could change the standard for what recorded music assets are worth across the industry.
Using multiple barometers employed by music industry investors, Billboard estimates that Swift’s catalog, which includes her first six albums, is now worth about $400 million-$450 million, which suggests that Braun got a fantastic deal when he bought Big Machine Label Group.
While there is no current deal between Ithaca/Braun, and Swift and her team, Braun did say on Instagram back in November that he’s “open to all possibilities,” meaning he may sell Swift’s masters back to her. However, Swift has gone on record saying that she “absolutely plans to re-record [her previous albums].”
If the 30-year-old “The Man” singer does re-record her previous six albums, she may not even bother to purchase her original recordings. The re-recordings could go one of two ways: they may actually boost sales/streams of her original recordings — despite the re-recordings sounding different now that Swift’s voice has matured — because listeners may be nostalgic for the way she sounded on the original recordings over the new ones. Or, the re-recordings will draw attention away from the original recordings, which would mean Braun/Ithaca Holdings would lose revenue money from streams and sales.
Whatever Swift decides to do, she may get the best price for her master recordings now rather than later. If the valuation for all of Universal Music Group continues to grow, her catalog will continue to increase in price, and Braun made money on his investment, whether he ends up selling it back to Swift or not.
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