Look What You Made Her Do
Taylor Swift signed with Big Machine records when they discovered her at the age of 14 in Nashville, Tennessee. Now, she’s negotiated one of the biggest deals ever inked in music history with Universal Music Group
But this isn’t your average multi-million dollar contract. This time, Swift has negotiated to have all the master rights to her records, something almost unheard of in the music industry.
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
When Taylor Swift was the youngest woman to ever win a Grammy for album of the year, or when she became the first woman to win it twice, or when she was making $191 million dollars from a single tour… Big Machine still owned the master rights to her music. It meant she didn’t have full financial control over her hits; so despite a friendly relationship with the label, Swift declined to renew her contract when it ran out this month.
All Too Well
Remember when Apple Music launched with free three month trials and Swift led a campaign ensuring all artists got paid royalties paid through the free period? Well, now she’s doing it again. By ensuring she has the master rights, she has set a precedent for all artists to be able to negotiate for better financial control over their own work.
Additionally, she has specified in her contract that if (or when) Universal Music Group—a major stakeholder in Spotify—sells any of its shares in the streaming company in the future, it must distribute royalties to all of its artists.