It was back in June 2010, when his client, Justin Bieber, was one of the opening acts on the then-country star's Fearless tour stop in Foxborough, Massachusetts. That same show also marked the first time he met his future business partner, Scott Borchetta, who signed Swift to his Big Machine record label when she was just 15 years old.
Now, in a new interview with Billboard, Braun recalls what it was like getting to know Borchetta and Swift in those early days.
"Our stories were similar," he explains. "Everyone at Big Machine -- Taylor was kind, Scott was kind -- everyone was kind to me and Justin when we were doing that show, and you don't forget those things. I never forgot that, and we started a friendship."
Over the years since they first met, Braun and Borchetta formed a solid friendship that ultimately turned into a successful business partnership. In June of this year, Braun's Ithaca Holdings group struck up a reported $300 million deal to acquire Borchetta's Big Machine label, which includes ownership of a majority of Swift's songs. Shortly after the news was announced, Swift (who left the label late last year) accused Braun of "bullying" her and said she was "sad and grossed out" by the deal in a lengthy message posted to Tumblr.
Braun and Borchetta's cover story for Billboard marks their first interview since the deal was announced, but the outlet reports that "neither would comment on Swift's reaction -- or the resulting drama," which included a number of celebrities weighing in on the situation and taking sides.
Despite all the drama the deal has caused over the past few weeks, Braun and Borchetta seem to have no regrets about their business decision.
"[The deal is] the first move of many in building an ecosystem that allows artists to go after their dreams," Braun explains. "Scott runs an incredible company, and we're trying to build an artist-first environment and -- in a climate with a lot of players -- get the leverage we need to help our creators go after their dreams. By combining what Scott had with what we had, we feel like we’re in a unique position to fight the good fight."
"There was a conversation a few years back and it never really got off the ground, but it was fascinating to me even then," Borchetta adds of how their partnership came to be. "There were a lot of things we would throw back and forth -- we ended up doing something together with Rascal Flatts and Justin Bieber -- and then it got very serious last fall."