Recording artists and bands across genres might be taking a hard look at their contracts these days, in the wake of Taylor Swift’s conflict with music manager Scooter Braun. The pop star recently railed against Braun on Tumblr after he bought Big Machine Label Group, including her back catalog of master recordings.
“For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in,” Swift wrote in the post. “I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, [Big Machine founder] Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums.”
Swift explained in the post that her “worst case scenario” was that her back catalog would be sold to Braun, claiming that Braun had encouraged his famous clients to bully her over the years. “When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them,” she continued. “Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter. Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to. He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever.”
The “You Need to Calm Down” singer does, however, have ownership of the masters she has recorded since signing with Republic Records in 2018. Scroll down to see other artists and bands who have the rights to some or all of their master recordings.