An artist being able to own their masters gives them control of how their work is used while also allowing them to get paid for their work. What’s the big deal about owning masters? It can be confusing to understand, but let’s put it into another context. Let’s say a model gets paid $3000 for a photo shoot. The pictures taken do not belong to the artist and they can be used many times, appearing in many different magazine, ad campaigns, brochures, etc. Let’s say the company who took them makes millions off that one photo shoot. The model is not receiving those earnings, and also is not able to have a say when and where her photos shows up.Embed from Getty Images
Owning masters has a little more flexibility, but you get the general idea. Music might be used in ways you didn’t know, such as in a commercial, movie or TV show. The artist also does not receive all of the profits that the music earns the label and instead might only receive a small percentage. For someone like Taylor Swift, owning masters it not about money, she has plenty of that. It’s about the ability to own what she created, to get to decide when and how her music is used, and it’s about allowing other artists to stand up and try to do the same. For some artists, owning their own masters and the income that this generates will be the difference of being able to provide for their family or not.Embed from Getty Images
For Swift, owning her own masters was major, that’s why when she signed to a new label, a condition of the new contract was being able to own her own work from there on out. Swift had to leave behind her old masters, to carve the way for her future. Although Swift won’t officially be owning her old masters, she will be able to re-record all of her previous albums. She can start re-recording her first five albums as early as November 2020. Reputation will have to wait a couple more years, once it reaches five years old.Embed from Getty Images
So what will re-recording her old work do for the original masters? In a way, it diminishes their value as listeners will now have newer versions of the same songs they can listen to. It might even bring new life to older songs and more opportunities for them to be used in creative new ways in the future. Sales and streams will also now go to Swift instead of her former label. Many Swift fans already own her previous albums, but instead of streaming them online, they can stream the newer versions.
Big machine recently sold for 300 million. Without Swift’s back catalog, it would not have sold for so high as she makes up most of the labels sales. Will Big Machine try to strike a deal and prevent her from re-recording? It’s possible, but unlikely that Swift would agree to anything at this point. The reasoning behind this is, Big Machine isn’t going to all of a sudden just hand Swift her masters and say don’t re-record your music, here you go. So what would be a big enough incentive to make her not re-record? They already offered her an old album for new album offer that she turned down, so it’s not likely that anything like that would come back around. She isn’t going to want to take half her masters and let them keep the rest. Furthermore she’s done making deals with the liars and dirty dirty cheats of the world.Embed from Getty Images
Swift sat down with Robin Roberts of Good Morning America, the same morning she performed live in Central Park for fans eagerly awaiting the release of her new album Lover, the first album she will officially own the masters to. Swift said as much when expressing to the crowd how much the album means to her: “One thing that’s really special to me is that it’s the first one that I will own.” When Roberts asked her about re-recording her earlier albums, she replied: “Yeah, and it’s something that I’m very excited about doing, because my contract says that starting November 2020 — so, next year — I can record albums 1 through 5 all over again — I’m very excited about it. … I think artists deserve to own their work. I just feel very passionately about that.”
Scott Borchetta, CEO of Big Machine Records, Swift’s former recording home, had something to say after news broke of Swift’s plans to re-record her first five albums. Take a look at what he posted on Instagram today.
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All we can say, Mr. Borchetta is you should’ve known………..
So there you have it Swifties, Swiftmas 2020 just got next level. Lover comes out Friday, August 23!