Scott Samuel "Scooter" Braun (born June 18, 1981) is an American talent manager and businessman. He owns two record labels: School Boy Records and Raymond-Braun Media Group (RBMG). RBMG is a joint venture with R&B performer Usher. The most prominent artist Braun represents is Justin Bieber. For School Boy Records, his represented acts include Psy, Carly Rae Jepsen and the British band The Wanted.
Braun was born in New York City, to Ervin and Susan Braun. While studying at Greenwich High School in Connecticut, he entered a video documentary contest for National History Day with a ten-minute piece entitled The Hungarian Conflict, about Jews in Hungary before, during, and after the Holocaust. The film won in regional and state competitions and then placed third overall. A member of Braun's family sent the film to Steven Spielberg's office, who, in turn, submitted Braun's video to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Braun has said Spielberg's response was one of the most inspirational moments in his life.
Braun began his career by organizing parties while studying in Atlanta. In 2002, Braun was hired to plan after-parties in each of the five cities on the Anger Management Tour, featuring Ludacris and Eminem.
This launch into the world of hip-hop led Braun to producer Jermaine Dupri, the director of So So Def Records. Braun was 19 years old when Dupri asked him to join So So Def in a marketing position, and 20 when Dupri named him So So Def's executive director for marketing. Still in his sophomore year at Emory, Braun was working at So So Def and operating his party promotion business. Some of his larger events included parties for the 2003 NBA All-Star Game and after-parties on Spears' Onyx Hotel Tour. Eventually Braun left So So Def to go on his private venture. Some report he was fired from the job after a dispute over the direction of the label. He started his own marketing business by brokering a $12 million campaign deal between Ludacris and Pontiac; the music video for Ludacris' Two Miles an Hour would feature a Pontiac while Pontiac's commercials would feature the song.
Braun first encountered Justin Bieber when he saw a video of a 12-year-old Bieber on YouTube, performing a song by Ne-Yo. Braun contacted Bieber's mother, Pattie Mallette, who agreed to bring her son to Atlanta for a no-strings-attached trial period. Eventually, Braun convinced them to move permanently to the United States. After further online success, Braun pitched Bieber to two successful artists, Usher and Justin Timberlake; both expressed interest. Eventually Usher's mentor, music executive L. A. Reid, signed Bieber to a deal with Island Def Jam. Under the agreement, the label would take a cut of all revenues generated by Bieber, including ticket sales and merchandising. The agreement also provided for a fifty-fifty profit split between the label and a new production company Braun and Usher had formed, RBMG.
In 2007, Braun established SB Projects (short for Scooter Braun Projects LLC), a full-service entertainment and marketing company encompassing a wide range of ventures including School Boy Records, SB Consulting, SB Management, and Sheba Publishing. The group also includes RBMG, a joint venture between Braun and Usher. School Boy Records had a special business arrangement with Universal Music Group and later on with Republic Records for distribution.
Besides Justin Bieber, School Boy Records includes artists such as Asher Roth, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Wanted, Ariana Grande, Psy and Cody Simpson.
In popular culture:
Braun appeared on the cover of Billboard in the August 11, 2012 "Forty Under Forty" special issue titled "Scooter Braun and Other Power Players on the Rise". Braun was featured on the Time 100 list for 2013. He also appeared a second time on the cover of Billboard in its April 20, 2013, issue, alongside Guy Oseary and Troy Carter. The cover was titled "Changing Lanes: Scooter Braun, Guy Oseary, and Troy Carter Shape the Intersection of Entertainment and Tech."
Braun was born in New York City to a Conservative Jewish family; his parents are Ervin and Susan Braun. Ervin's parents "had barely escaped" the Holocaust, and lived in Hungary until 1956. Just before the Soviet Union intervened to suppress the Hungarian Revolution, they fled to the United States. Ervin grew up in Queens, and became a dentist, along with Susan Schlussel, who became an orthodontist. After Ervin and Susan married, they settled in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Braun has four siblings, Liza, Cornelio, Sam and Adam Braun, the latter, the founder of the charity Pencils of Promise for building schools in developing countries. He also has relatives in Israel.
Braun attended Greenwich High School and was class president. He also played basketball from age 13 to 18 in the Amateur Athletic Union with the Connecticut Flame team that was established by his father Ervin. For an All-Star tournament, they recruited Sam Manhanga and Cornelio Guibunda, former members of the Mozambique junior national team, who were without a team at the time because of a scam athletic basketball program that had gone sour. After hearing their tale, Ervin Braun invited them to stay with his family in Greenwich. They became stars in the Greenwich High basketball team despite being heckled by fans. This experience affected the Brauns tremendously. He went to college at Emory University in Atlanta where he also played college basketball during his sophomore year. After Dupri asked him to become the head of marketing at his label, So So Def, Braun reportedly dropped out of university without a degree.
In March 2010, Braun was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal nuisance, both misdemeanors, after a crowd became unruly at Roosevelt Field Mall. Police asked him to send out a tweet announcing the cancellation of an appearance by Justin Bieber. Police allege that he delayed the announcement, but Braun denied the police charges. In May 2011, Braun's attorney, Ravi Batra, announced that the case had been settled. In a plea bargain, Bieber's record label and management company, Island Def Jam Record Music Group and Remster 3 LLC, agreed to plead guilty to a fire violation. Bieber, Batra said, would appear in a public service announcement, "...reaching out to young people..." with a message about responsibility in cyberspace.
Braun dated fellow publicist Carin Morris. On June 18, 2011, Braun celebrated his 30th birthday at Hollywood's Music Box with many celebrities attending, along with performances by Justin Bieber, Usher, MC Hammer and Jaden Smith. As of 2014, he is engaged to philanthropist Yael Cohen.
Scooter Braun remains greatly involved in various charities insisting on donating certain proceeds from his business. Many of the artists he signs also get involved in various charities. His greatest commitment remains for the charity Pencils of Promise, established by Adam Braun, Scooter's brother, two years his junior, who was greatly affected by the experience of asking a child in India what he wished for, and the child answering "a pencil" which prompted Adam Braun to found the charity, that helps build schools in developing nations. Both Scooter Braun and Justin Bieber have worked in support of the organization. The charity has helped in building more than 200 schools in Asia, Africa and Latin America.