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The post Major Labels Are Trying to Stop Artists from Re-Recording Their Music like Taylor Swift appeared first on Consequence.
Major record labels are implementing new restrictions in order to deter artists from re-recording their music à la Taylor Swift.
As Billboard reports, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group have recently overhauled contracts for their new signees, with some prohibiting artists from re-recording their music until 10 years — or more — after they’ve left the label.
“The first time I saw [UMG’s new contracts], I tried to get rid of it entirely,” attorney Josh Karp told Billboard. “I was just like, ‘What is this? This is strange. Why would we agree to further restrictions than we’ve agreed to in the past with the same label?’”
Until now, artists on major record labels who wanted to re-record their music typically had to wait five to seven years after releasing the original, or two years after their contract with the label expired. As a refresher: After music mogul Scooter Braun acquired her former label Big Machine in 2019, Swift has been re-recording her first six studio albums with the addendum “(Taylor’s Version)” in an effort to regain control of her masters.
The success of “Taylor’s Versions” has arguably eclipsed the originals, which is great news for Swift’s camp and terrible news for Big Machine. While few artists have the advantage of the Swiftie allegiance, it seems like UMG, Sony, and Warner are all trying to prevent a similar scenario from happening to them. While Swift certainly wasn’t the first artist ever to re-record music, artists like Switchfoot and even Neil Young have made similar endeavors since.
But artist representatives seem to be pushing back against these statutes of limitations. “[The labels’] position is, ‘Hey, if we’re going to spend a bunch of money creating this brand with you, then you should not try and create records to compete with us,’” attorney Josh Binder told Billboard. “We try and fight it. We try and make it as short as possible. But I don’t find it to be the most compelling issue to fight.”
Instead, some artists and their attorneys are going straight to the source of the masters debacle and are moving towards licensing deals. Rather than traditional label contracts wherein the label owns everything, licensing deals mean artists get to own their masters while labels oversee distribution.