The Music Trade (Taylor’s Model): How Taylor Swift Is…

The Music Trade (Taylor’s Model): How Taylor Swift Is…

Taylor Swift is a family title that has been making headlines and breaking information within the music trade for over fifteen years. As an artist, she has moved seamlessly throughout genres and continually reinvented herself and her work, however not with out controversy. In her teenage years, fixed headlines revolved round Swift’s love life and ex-boyfriends. Nevertheless, the most important headlines involving Swift and one other man began in 2019 when Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings acquired Large Machine Label Group, and subsequently Swift’s total discography of grasp recordings.[i] After a lot public disdain from each events and music trade figures selecting sides with both Swift or Braun, Swift determined to take an unprecedented transfer. She vowed to re-record her six-album discography bought by Ithaca Holdings.

On November 12, 2021, Taylor Swift launched the extremely anticipated Purple (Taylor’s Model). This was the second re-release of a earlier album, the primary being Fearless (Taylor’s Model), launched on April 9, 2021. Upon launch, Purple (Taylor’s Model) broke the report on Spotify for the most-streamed album by a feminine in at some point.[ii] As well as, the album additionally led to Swift breaking the report for most-streamed feminine in a single day.[iii] Why does this matter for the broader music trade, and never simply devoted followers excited for by no means earlier than heard vault tracks and a public discussion board for bashing Jake Gyllenhaal? Swift’s transfer to re-record her music to personal her grasp’s makes method for artist empowerment public assist of artist rights of possession, and it holds significance concerning copyright legislation.

Negotiating Pursuits And Empowering Songwriters

When an artist indicators with a report label, they sometimes should comply with signal over copyright possession of their albums to the report label as a part of the deal. The report label will commercially exploit the album in change for copyright possession, and an artist will obtain royalties from it. An artist can’t gauge the business success worth of their work when negotiating their contract, making it potential for an artist to comply with royalties which are probably decrease than what they deserve. If their work proves to be a success that stands the check of time, they might be lacking out on a number of the income from the sound recordings of their work. Most recording contracts, together with Taylor Swift’s, have a clause that states for a time frame (sometimes 5 years)[iv] artists can’t make new recordings of the songs featured on the sound recordings or grasp’s held by the label as soon as they go away. Nevertheless, Swift’s main success along with her re-recordings can now empower artists to barter with report labels. For instance, when discussing royalties, if an artist doesn’t really feel like they’re getting what they deserve, they may use Swift’s instance as a bargaining chip to extend royalties. Wouldn’t the report label quite pay the next artist royalty charge for the period, as an alternative of at some point having the worth of their recordings drastically diminished on account of new recordings? In Swift’s case, she makes her new recordings extremely engaging as she has launched a number of “Vault Tracks” of songs that had been thought-about for the unique albums however didn’t make the ultimate lower.

Getting Followers (And the Common Public) Engaged

 It’s unattainable to disclaim the ability Swift holds with public opinion. With such an enormous fanbase of “Swifties,” they may endlessly defend her on social media platforms and past if she places out a rallying cry. This energy has helped convey public consciousness of artist possession and the battle many profitable artists have in proudly owning their work. Like Swift, Sir Paul McCartney famously tried to buy the Beatles’ catalog a number of instances however misplaced out to increased bidders. Most people doesn’t know the ends and outs of the music trade and customary language and phrases of a report deal. Due to this fact, it’s affordable to imagine they aren’t conscious that artists don’t personal all their work nor obtain the best degree of compensation for it. Swift’s public broadcasting of this subject has helped educate the overall music shopper on trade practices. When talking on this subject, Swift acknowledged, “Once I stood up and talked about this, I noticed many followers saying, ‘Wait, the creators of this work don’t personal their work, ever?’ I spent ten years of my life making an attempt rigorously to buy my masters outright and was then denied that chance, and I simply don’t need that to occur to a different artist if I might help it.”[v] There have been a number of artists who’ve efficiently gained possession of their grasp recordings. Jay-Z, Rihanna, U2, LL Cool J, and Frank Ocean are amongst a number of the notable artists who’ve overtly gained possession of their grasp’s and assist different artists’ efforts to take action.[vi] They’ve proven they’re prepared to pay a major sum to acquire this degree of management of their work.

Weighing the Potentialities

With Swift’s degree of success in her first two re-recordings, a legitimate query is posed: Would the copyright homeowners of the unique albums have made more cash by promoting Swift’s catalog to her outright? The unique albums are nonetheless making a living, however will the income Swift is receiving from the brand new recordings outweigh what may have been made by promoting to Swift all alongside? Solely time will reply this query. It’s affordable to imagine Braun had this identical query as a result of simply as Swift was starting the re-recording course of, his Ithaca Holdings offered Swift’s catalog to Shamrock Capitol, an investing agency.[vii] Early numbers exhibit the diminishing worth of her unique recordings in comparison with the brand new ones. The primary re-recorded single launched was her smash hit “Love Story.” When “Love Story (Taylor’s Model)” was launched, it had 10,000 downloads within the first 24 hours, whereas the unique model was downloaded solely 200 instances in that very same interval.[viii] As a author of each tune in her catalog, Swift holds the higher hand in incomes revenue from licensing her music, as she will be able to deny any request made to license the previous variations of her songs. In an interview with Billboard, Swift stated, “Fortunately, there’s energy in writing your music. Each week, we get a dozen synch requests to make use of ‘Shake It Off’ in some commercial or ‘Clean Area’ in some film trailer, and we are saying no to each single certainly one of them.”[ix] The homeowners of her unique recordings stand to lose a number of potential licensing offers if Swift continues solely to license the brand new recordings.

Potential Affect on US Copyright Legal guidelines

Swift’s journey of re-recording and releasing new variations of her previous albums may probably influence the importance of a selected part of US copyright legislation. The Copyright Act states, “Within the case of any work apart from a piece made for rent, the unique or nonexclusive grant of a switch or license of copyright or any proper below a copyright, executed by the creator on or after January 1, 1978, in any other case than by will, is topic to termination….”[x] This termination proper could be enacted at any time in the course of the five-year window of thirty-five years to forty years after the switch of the task.[xi] As soon as the termination takes impact, “all rights below this title that had been lined by the terminated grants revert to the creator, authors, and different individuals proudly owning termination pursuits…”[xii] The termination proper holds little significance for some artists as a result of their music is just not steadily incomes revenue thirty-five years after its launch. Some artists might not even be dwelling this lengthy after releasing their music. (The termination proper will also be enacted by an artist’s inheritor that might stand to profit from this revenue.[xiii]) Nevertheless, just like the Beatles, for an artist of Swift’s degree of success, their catalog might be making appreciable cash even this lengthy after its launch. Suppose Swift’s path of re-recording turns into extra commonplace with profitable artists. In that case, it should lower the importance of the termination proper as a result of the worth of the brand new sound recordings will more than likely outweigh that of the previous ones. When the time involves terminate the switch of copyright of the unique album’s sound recordings, it is not going to be as essential of a second for an artist as a result of they’ve already been profiting off the re-recorded albums.


In conclusion, whether or not a fan of Swift or not, it’s unattainable to disclaim the influence she has made and can proceed to make within the music trade. As well as, NYU’s prestigious Clive Davis Institute lately launched its first-ever tutorial course on Taylor Swift, additional demonstrating her significance to the music trade.[xiv] Her unprecedented plight of re-recording her previous discography has the ability to each break information and break glass ceilings.


  1. Cowen, Hint William, “Scooter Braun Displays on Taylor Swift’s Response to Controversial Large Machine Deal: ‘It Makes Me Unhappy.’” Advanced. June 23, 2021.
  2. Towey, Hannah. “Taylor Swift’s Rerecorded ‘Purple’ Album Broke 2 Spotify Information in 1 Day – Right here’s Why It’s a Large Deal for the Music Trade.” Enterprise Insider. November 15, 2021.
  1. Towey, Taylor Swift’s Rerecorded ‘Purple’ Album Broke 2 Spotify Information in 1 Day.
  2. Rosseinsky, Katie. “How Taylor Swift Is Altering the Music Trade a Re-Report at a Time.” Purple: Taylor Swift’s masters row and what it means for the music trade | Night Customary. Night Customary, November 15, 2021.
  3. Lipshutz, Jason. “Billboard Lady of the Decade Taylor Swift: ‘I Do Need My Music to Reside on.’” Billboard. Billboard, April 2, 2020.
  4. Bergen, Spencer. “Which Musical Artists Really Personal Their Masters?” Web page Six. Web page Six, November 22, 2019.
  5. Rosseinsky, Katie. “How Taylor Swift Is Altering the Music Trade a Re-Report at a Time.”
  6. See notice seven above.
  7. Mench, Chris. “Taylor Swift Is Denying All Sync Licensing Requests for Her Music till Scooter Braun Battle Is Resolved.” Genius, December 12, 2019.
  8. 17 U.S.C. § 203(a).
  9. 17 U.S.C. § 203(3).
  10. 17 U.S.C. § 203(b).
  11. 17 U.S.S. § 203(2).
  12. Aswad, Jem. “Taylor Swift Course Launched at New York College’s Clive Davis Institute.” Selection. February 3, 2022.


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