Taylor Swift has been dubbed Billboard's Woman of the Year for her whirlwind 2019 and featured as the magazine's latest cover star. In the feature, the superstar went into detail about the aftermath of her public feud with former label, Big Machine Records, and its new owner Scooter Braun.
After admitting her skill for the business side of the industry, Swift, 29, was applauded as "an ambassador of sorts for artists, especially recently -- staring down streaming services over payouts" by the interviewer, but the pop titan confessed that the industry has a long way to go to fix the contractual system. "We need to think about how we handle master recordings, because this isn’t it. When I stood up and talked about this, I saw a lot of fans saying, 'Wait, the creators of this work do not own their work, ever?'" she recalled. "I spent 10 years of my life trying rigorously to purchase my masters outright and was then denied that opportunity, and I just don’t want that to happen to another artist if I can help it."
Swift said that she's using her situation to make an example out of herself for other artists. "I want to at least raise my hand and say, 'This is something that an artist should be able to earn back over the course of their deal -- not as a renegotiation ploy -- and something that artists should maybe have the first right of refusal to buy,'" she said.
As you know, Swift penned an open letter claiming that Braun and CEO Scott Borchetta wouldn't let her perform tracks from her old catalogue at this year's AMAs nor have the songs featured in an upcoming Netflix documentary. Borchetta reportedly said that these projects would be approved so long as she agreed not to re-record her BM canon next year. "God, I would have paid so much for them! Anything to own my work that was an actual sale option, but it wasn’t given to me," she told Billboard.
"Thankfully, there’s power in writing your music. Every week, we get a dozen synch requests to use 'Shake It Off' in some advertisement or 'Blank Space' in some movie trailer, and we say no to every single one of them," she continued. "And the reason I’m rerecording my music next year is because I do want my music to live on. I do want it to be in movies, I do want it to be in commercials. But I only want that if I own it."
As for her upcoming plans to re-record her material, Swift said she is looking forward to the process because "it’ll feel like regaining a freedom and taking back what’s [hers]." "When I created [these songs], I didn’t know what they would grow up to be. Going back in and knowing that it meant something to people is actually a really beautiful way to celebrate what the fans have done for my music," she explained.
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