Why is everyone leaving this celebrity manager? Here’s who ditched him, and here’s who’s left

The exodus of high-profile clientele has tongues wagging, despite what Braun's camp is saying

By Joy Saha

Staff Writer

Published August 23, 2023 7:30PM (EDT)

Scooter Braun (L) and Ariana Grande walk backstage during the "Dangerous Woman" Tour Opener at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 3, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation)
Scooter Braun (L) and Ariana Grande walk backstage during the "Dangerous Woman" Tour Opener at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 3, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation)

Big changes are happening in the music industry, all thanks to one celebrity manager who may have some beef with a few of his high-profile clients. We're talking about Scooter Braun, whose name continues to pop up in recent reports and across social media.

Some may know Braun in association with pop star Taylor Swift. Others may know him in connection to Schoolboy Records, the major record label that enjoyed successes with Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" along with Psy's hit "Gangnam Style." And a few may even know him for his eponymous entertainment and media company, Scooter Braun Projects, better known as SB Projects. The 42-year-old music exec and entrepreneur launched his company in 2007, after dropping out of college and working as an executive director of marketing for producer Jermaine Dupri's record label So So Def. 

Braun's early successes in the entertainment industry — which include brokering Ludacris and Pontiac in a $12 million deal campaign — contributed to the overall success of his profitable talent management business. Many of his clients hold the same level of prestige that his company boasts. But now, it seems like Braun is losing those clients just as quickly as he attained them.

There's currently very little information as to why some celebrities are parting ways with Braun. The drama is also pretty unclear as some sources claim one reason and others say the opposite, thus creating a murky narrative. At this time, a source told NBC News that Braun is cutting a few ties to focus on his new role as CEO of Hybe America. The recent splits are all supposedly amicable in nature, and those who say otherwise are "spreading rumors," they added.

"All of Scooter Braun's clients are under contract, and negotiations have been going on for several months as Scooter steps into his larger role as Hybe America CEO," the source shared. "People are spreading rumors based on what they know but they are off."

The recent events are being called a mass exodus from Braun's company. And many Netizens suspect there's something more shady happening, especially as reports of additional clients leaving Braun's management stable are on the horizon. 

Here's a closer look at who ditched Braun so far, and who is still under his management:

Taylor Swift
Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift (Kevin Winter/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

Swift and Braun's lengthy feud reached its peak in June 2019, when Braun acquired Swift's old record label, Big Machine Records, for a whopping $300 million. As part of the deal, Braun became the new owner of Swift's first six albums with Big Machine Records: her self-titled debut, "Fearless," "Speak Now," "Red," "1989" and "Reputation."


Swift later took to Tumblr to slam the business deal and Braun, who she had bad blood with since 2016, in a lengthy post:


"I learned about Scooter Braun's purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world," she wrote. "All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I've received at his hands for years." She continued, mentioning her bitter fight with Braun, Kanye West and West's then wife Kim Kardashian. 


Known as the "Famous" scandal, Swift suffered a hit to her public image after Kardashian leaked a portion of a phone call in which Swift gave West (who was managed by Scooter at the time) permission to release his song, "Famous." In it, West raps, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b***h famous." The inflammatory single was enough to label Swift a "snake" and fuel a series of online jabs, from celebrities and fans alike, against the singer.  


In November 2019, Swift claimed Braun had told her she wasn't allowed to perform any music from her first six albums during her American Music Awards performance. Then, a year later, Swift said she was kept in the dark when Braun sold her master rights to Shamrock Holdings for over $300 million.


Braun spoke out about the tense relationship in June 2021, saying in an interview for a Variety cover story, "I regret, and it makes me sad that Taylor had that reaction to the deal." He continued, asserting that Swift's side of the story was "not based on anything factual." Braun also expressed hurt over Swift calling him a bully.


"I'm firmly against anyone ever being bullied. I always try to lead with appreciation and understanding," he said. "The one thing I'm proudest of in that moment was that my artists and team stood by me. They know my character and my truth. That meant a lot to me."

Justin Bieber
Justin BieberJustin Bieber (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc for Homecoming Weekend/Getty Images)

Last week, Puck News reported that Bieber "has been poking around for a new agency or manager," and that he hasn't talked to Braun in months.


"It's tough because Bieber signed a new management deal right before Braun sold his Ithaca Holdings to South Korean giant Hybe in 2021, and Bieber still has time left on that," wrote Puck's Matthew Belloni. "So neither side is confirming a split, but I'm told they're headed separate ways, and their lawyers are involved."


Although the shocking revelation has been denied by reps for both stars, many are now wondering if there's truth to it as several other stars announced their recent departure from Braun. 


Bieber's rise to stardom can be credited to Braun, who discovered the then-rising star via a YouTube video back in 2007, when Bieber was just 13 years of age.

Demi Lovato
Demi LovatoDemi Lovato (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

Lovato parted ways with Braun and is currently seeking new management as she gears up to release her new album, "Revamped," sources told Variety. They emphasized that the decision was mutual and amicable.


Lovato and Braun had worked together since 2019. At the time, Lovato announced their partnership in an Instagram post, writing: "Dreams came true for me. I officially have a NEW MANAGER. And not just any manager but the one and only Scooter Braun. Couldn't be happier, inspired and excited to begin this next chapter. Thank you for believing in me and for being a part of this new journey." Braun also posted that Lovato "is a special person and a special talent. I'm . . . we . . . are honored."   


Under Braun's management, Lovato released two albums: "Holy Fvck" and "Dancing with the Devil . . . the Art of Starting Over." She previously shared that Braun has been incredibly supportive amid her struggles with substance abuse and mental health. 

Ariana Grande
Ariana GrandeAriana Grande (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Shortly after news of Lovato's split with Braun broke, Puck's Matthew Belloni announced that Grande had also cut ties with Braun after 10 years together. Billboard later confirmed the news, saying, "It is unclear whether Grande is severing all business ties with Braun outside of management." 


On Tuesday, TMZ reported that Grande was still under contract with SB Projects. Belloni, however, pointed out that Braun was close to TMZ's Harvey Levin.


"Oh no, this is embarrassing for TMZ," Belloni wrote on X. "Harvey and Scooter are BFFs but Harvey man, the brand has gotta come first . . ."

Idina Menzel
Idina MenzelIdina Menzel (Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)
The Broadway star signed with Braun in 2019 and left him in January, a source close to Menzel told The Hollywood Reporter. Neither the source nor the outlet disclosed the reason why Menzel chose to find new management. At this time, Menzel, along with Lovato, Grande and Bieber, are all still listed as music clients on the Scooter Braun Projects website.
Braun's current clients (for now)
Kelly RowlandKelly Rowland (Gus Stewart/Redferns/Getty Images)
Despite the lost clients, Braun is still managing several notable celebrities . . . for now. His current clients include Ava Max, Carly Rae Jepsen, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta, Ashley Graham, Hilary Duff, Kelly Rowland, Ozuna, Quavo, Psy, The Knocks, Lil Dicky, The Kid Laroi and Tori Kelly.

By Joy Saha

Joy Saha is a staff writer at Salon. She writes about food news and trends and their intersection with culture. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Ariana Grande Demi Lovato Idina Menzel Justin Bieber Scooter Braun Taylor Swift