It’s safe to say that it hasn’t been an easy year for pop superstar Taylor Swift. Within a year and a half, she had someone sell the recording rights to her first six albums twice. And she didn’t have a say in it.
Taylor Swift Doesn’t Own Her Recording Rights
A little known fact outside of the music industry is that upon signing with a label, a musician generally loses the recording rights (also known as master recordings) to the music they release with that label. The same happened with Taylor Swift’s first label, the Big Machine Label Group. Last summer the label was sold to music manager Scooter Braun for a deal estimated between $300-$350 million. What made matters worse is that Braun had managed none other than her longtime rival, Kanye West.
At the time, Taylor called the deal the “worst-case scenario,” and it’s clear why. After the deal was official, Swift said she was planning to re-record new versions of her old songs in order to devalue the original recordings.
It Could Be a Good Thing for Fans
After news of Swift’s back catalog got sold again, the pop star identified the buyer as Shamrock Capital, an LA investment firm. Although Taylor was given the opportunity to become a partner with Shamrock, she refused because of the fine print. If she were to become an equity partner, it would mean that Braun would continue to profit from her work “for many years.” In negotiating with Braun to buy her recordings outright, she was offered an unacceptable non-disclosure agreement that she turned down.
As a result, Taylor Swift announced she will be moving forward with her plans to create new recordings for her earlier music. She added that doing this has already proven to be creatively fulfilling and exciting in the past so, fans, rejoice! We might get brand new (sort of) music from Tay-Tay soon.