Taylor Swift masters controversy

Taylor Swift (pictured in 2006) signed her record deal with Big Machine Records in 2005 at age 15, giving the ownership of the masters of her first six studio albums to the label.

The Taylor Swift masters controversy refers to the dispute of American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift with her former record label, Big Machine Records, its founder Scott Borchetta, and new owner Scooter Braun, over the ownership of the master recordings of her first six studio albums. It is a highly publicized conflict, drawing widespread attention and media coverage since its ignition in 2019.

Swift signed a record deal with Republic Records in November 2018 after her Big Machine contract expired.[note 1] Mainstream media reported in June 2019 that Braun has purchased Big Machine from Borchetta for US$330 million, funded by various private equity firms. Braun became the owner of all of the masters, videos and artworks copyrighted by Big Machine, including those of Swift's first six studio albums. In response, Swift stated she tried to buy the masters but Big Machine had offered unfavorable conditions, and that she knew the label would sell them to someone else but did not expect Braun as the buyer, recalling him being an "incessant, manipulative bully".[note 2] Borchetta claimed that Swift declined an opportunity to buy the masters.

Scooter Braun (pictured in 2019) purchased Big Machine in 2019 and became the owner of the masters of Swift's first six albums, which he later sold to Shamrock Holdings in 2020.

Consequently, Big Machine and Swift were embroiled in a series of disagreements leading to further friction; Swift alleged that the label blocked her from using her music for the 2019 American Music Awards and documentary Miss Americana (2020), while Big Machine released Live from Clear Channel Stripped 2008 (2020), an unreleased work by Swift, without her approval. Swift announced she would re-record the six albums to gain complete ownership over them. In October 2020, Braun sold the masters to the Disney family's investment firm, Shamrock Holdings,[note 3] for $405 million on the condition that he keeps earning from the masters. Swift expressed her disapproval again, rejecting Shamrock's offer for an equity partnership, and began releasing the re-recorded music via Republic. She released Fearless (Taylor's Version) and Red (Taylor's Version), the re-recordings of her albums Fearless (2008) and Red (2012), in 2021 to critical and commercial success, breaking multiple sales, streaming and chart records. One of the tracks—"All Too Well (10 Minute Version)"—became the longest song ever to top the Billboard Hot 100, giving Swift her eighth number-one song. "Wildest Dreams (Taylor's Version)" and "This Love (Taylor's Version)" have also been released. Swift was the global best-selling soloist and highest-earning musician of 2021.

Various musicians, journalists, politicians and scholars supported Swift's stance, prompting a discourse on artists' rights, intellectual property, private equity, and ethics in the music industry. Publications described her response and move to re-record as influential measures, encouraging new artists to negotiate for greater ownership of their music. iHeartRadio, the largest radio network in the US, proclaimed it will replace the older versions in its airplay with Swift's re-recorded tracks. Billboard named Swift the Greatest Pop Star of 2021 for the successful and unprecedented outcomes of her re-recording venture. Braun has stated he regrets buying Swift's masters and Big Machine at large, and subsequently sold his entire holding company, Ithaca, to Hybe Corporation.

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference inews was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference Tumblr post was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Cite error: There are <ref group=note> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=note}} template (see the help page).

From Rich X Search The Next Generation Search Engine

Copyright 2023 Rich X Search