advertisement
Business News

Scooter Braun Retires From Management, Reflects on Helping Launch Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande

The famed manager is stepping back to focus on family, but will stay on as CEO of HYBE America, he announces in a lengthy letter recalling some of his fondest career moments, from dancing with Carly Rae Jepsen to his former friendship with Kanye West.

Scooter Braun

Scooter Braun

Bradford Rogne Photography

One of the music industry's most famous executives, who played a major role in the careers of Canadian stars, is stepping back from the limelight.

Scooter Braun, who discovered and helped launch superstar Justin Bieber, is retiring from management to focus on his family. The 42-year-old has worked as a manager since he was 19, and is ready to change his priorities and turn off his cell phone from time to time, though he'll stay on with HYBE America — the North American iteration of South Korean entertainment company HYBE — as CEO.


The announcement follows last year's revelation that one of his biggest clients, Ariana Grande, had stopped working with him, as had Demi Lovato and J Balvin.

advertisement

Braun built a name for himself working with a new generation of popstars in the 2010s, while also making some enemies along the way. In a lengthy public letter, he recalls the highlights of his career as a manager, from dancing to "Call Me Maybe" with Carly Rae Jepsen, to shepherding the careers of country stars Zac Brown Band and Dan + Shay, to accompanying The Kid Laroi to Australia for a hometown arena show.

The letter leaves out Braun's highly public feud with Taylor Swift, who began her project of re-recording her albums when Braun acquired Big Machine Records and became the owner of Swift's masters in 2019. It does reference the source of that feud, though: Braun's former relationship with Kanye West. Braun writes that he "served as Kanye’s 'gateway drug to business' as we had amazing years of success when I was once able to call him my friend."

Amidst an impressive list of clients, Braun singles out Bieber and Grande as the two he watched grow from kids to mega-stars. He writes that when both of his premiere clients hit a milestone in December, becoming the biggest male and female artists in Spotify's Billions Club, Braun knew it was time for a new chapter.

advertisement

"Justin and Ariana were both young teenagers when I began with them. Justin a 13 year old kid busking in Canada and Ariana a young actress on Nickelodeon," Braun writes. "To see them both come up to be the legends they are today will forever be one of my greatest honors."

Leaving his management company, SB Projects, in the hands of Allison Kaye and Jennifer McDaniels, Braun will focus on HYBE America, where he works with South Korean superstars like Jung Kook and BTS, NewJeans, Seventeen and more.

He closes his letter with a quote from another industry icon, Berry Gordy of Motown, who once told Braun: “young man, it never ends the way you wanted, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

Read Braun's full statement below.

23 years. That’s how long I have been a music manager. 23 years ago a 19 year old kid started managing an artist named Cato in Atlanta, GA and my journey began. Along the way I have had so many experiences I could never have dreamt of. I have been blessed to have had a ‘Forrest Gump”-like life while witnessing and taking part in the journeys of some of the most extraordinarily talented people the world has ever seen. I’m constantly pinching myself and asking “how did I get here?” And after 23 years this chapter as a must manager has come to an end.”

advertisement

It’s a strange feeling because I think I have wanted this for a while, but I was truly afraid to answer the question “who would I be without them?” I was really just 19 years old when I started. So for my entire adult life I played the role of an artist manager on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And for 20 years I loved it. It’s all I had known. But as my children got older, and my personal Iife took some hits, I came to the realization that my kids were 3 superstars I wasn’t willing to lose. The sacrifices I was once willing to make I could no longer justify. It was time to step into a new role.

advertisement

In this next chapter I have been honored to join as a board member of Hybe and serve as the CEO of Hybe America. My brilliant partner these past 3 years, Chairman Bang, has a vision I truly believe in. But even beyond that he has become a true friend who understands where I must be in my life these days. And that is a father first, a CEO second, and a manager no more.

Over the past 2 years I have been heading towards this destination, but it wasn’t until last summer that this new chapter became a reality. One of my biggest clients and friends told me that they wanted to spread their wings and go in a new direction. We had been through so much together over the last decade, but instead of being hurt I saw it as a sign. You see, life doesn’t hand you YOUR plan, it hands you GOD’s plan. And God has been pushing me in this direction for some time. I have nothing but love for those I have worked with over the years, and as we develop a different working relationship, I will always be in their corner to consult and support them whether it be directly or from afar. Every client I have had the privilege of working with has changed my life, and I know many of them are just beginning to see the success they deserve. I will cheer for every single one of them.

advertisement

I have gotten to see my friend Andrew Watt win the Grammy for Producer of the year. I have laughed and cried as Lil Dicky truly became DAVE. I have witnessed an angel of a human Tori Kelly win Grammys and star in films. I have seen J Balvin live out his dreams of breaking boundaries, and Demi show kindness and grace that few megastars have. I have been moved as Zac Brown Band raised our flag and delivered the hits. I was excited the first time I heard Animals with Martin Garrix, and learned a new world with David Guetta and Steve Angello. I have danced to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe and smiled ear to ear as PSY brought us Gangnam Style. I have watched Quavo grow to be an entrepreneur, and served as Kanye’s “gateway drug to business” as we had amazing years of success when I was once able to call him my friend. I have marched with YG and flown to Australia with Laroi to see the hometown kid rock an arena. I have seen Dan Shay go from local Nashville writers to sold out headliners and award winners. The list of artists goes on and on over 23 years. So many stories it would take me forever to name. From those first years with Asher Roth to watching my partner and brother Usher dominate the Super Bowl this year, it is truly overwhelming.

But it was this past Christmas Day when Ariana and Justin became the biggest male and female in the history of the Spotify Billions club that I just smiled and thought “what a ride.” Justin and Ariana were both young teenagers when I began with them. Justin a 13 year old kid busking in Canada and Ariana a young actress on Nickelodeon. To see them both come up to be the legends they are today will forever be one of my greatest honors. As we change our working relationships now, I will continue to root for them with the same passion that I did at each of their humble beginnings. I remember the pranks and the water park shows with Justin, and the first time Ari opened an arena tour and her excitement side stage. I remember as they both stepped up for others and I got to witness them each change the world and make history. There will never be a day where I don’t take great pride and honor in what we accomplished together. The same can be said for so many I have had the pleasure of once being called “manager”.

advertisement

There has been a lot said about what is happening in our company… and in my career. When we had success I smiled, and when we were attacked I tried to always take the high road. But for the last 3 years I have begun to feel that taking the high road has created confusion and ambiguity as to who we are. I may have left my role in management, and my business relationship with many clients will alter and change, but this does not mean we as a company are leaving. Both Allison Kaye and Jennifer McDaniels are more than capable to lead and as we combine new resources the opportunities with their leadership are endless. These two incredibly powerful women will now step into a role that I know will grow into the most impressive women-led management business our industry has even seen. While my name may have been on the door all these years, the truth is there is no one as brilliant as Allison Kaye, and few who can manage with the grace and poise of Jen McDaniels.

We at Hybe will continue to grow. With the addition of QC to Hybe America and our existing business at Big Machine, we will continue to add amazing execs and artists to the roster. Our WeVerse platform and growing gaming unit is something the whole industry can celebrate and join. Getting the opportunity to A&R and Executive Produce the solo career of Jung Kook last summer, and work with the other members of BTS as we break worldwide records, has been an absolute honor. With new acts like NewJeans, TXT, LE SSERAFIM, Seventeen, ILLIT, The Scarlet Opera, Ava Max, and many other new artists and ventures, the future is bright. I’m honored to join Chairman Bang and Jiwon Park as we grow HYBE from the multi-billion dollar publicly traded company it is today to the worldwide multifaceted entertainment platform it is destined to be.

With Hybe going strong I am also looking forward to continuing to invest in a new generation of entrepreneurs and serve as a national board member of Make A Wish and help individuals and communities through our family’s Braun Foundation. Between all of this and coaching my kids I’m not worried about being busy 🙂

So yes, it’s been 23 years. And yes, this chapter has come to an end. But the great Berry Gordy once told me “young man, it never ends the way you wanted, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.” That wisdom has proven to be correct. I never saw how this chapter would end, hell, I never even saw it happening. But it did. And I will cherish every moment of it. I made my plan… but it turns out I like God’s plan better. Cheers!

advertisement
Alvvays
Norman Wong

Alvvays

Rock

Happy Anniversary, Archie: Alvvays' Debut Record Gets a 10th Birthday Re-Issue

The Canadian jangle pop group's first album will be available on a new cerulean blue vinyl with an unearthed bonus track, as well as the ten original songs — including breakout single 'Archie, Marry Me' — that launched their career in 2014.

A major Canadian indie rock album turns 10 today (July 22), and the band is celebrating with a special re-issue.

Alvvays' self-titled debut helped the group break through on an international scale, propelled by jangly guitars, aloof vocals and an expertly catchy single. "Archie, Marry Me," with its soaring chorus and pleading lyrics, became a wedding song for a generation of ambivalent millennials, earnest and sardonic at the same time.

keep readingShow less
advertisement