Taylor Swift Has A Big Decision To Make
Just how much power does Taylor Swift have in the music industry? We’re about to find out as negotiations heat up between the country-turned-pop superstar and the various record labels. In November Taylor’s contract with her current label, Big Machine Records, will expire, and competing labels are already showing interest in bidding for her services. A new deal is expected to land in the low nine-figures guaranteed. Nice to be Tay-Tay, right?
There are two really interesting aspects of the negotiation that are worth keeping an eye on. The first is the ownership of the Masters (aka publishing rights) for Swift’s past music. Right now Big Machine owns the Masters, which have a future earnings value of up to $20M per song. Taylor wants to take back ownership of her past recording, but Big Machine holds the cards. One possible outcome is that Swift renews with Big Machine in return for getting some portion of her Masters ownership back. Then again, Big Machine could sell the Masters to another label altogether.
Another possibility is that Taylor goes it alone without any label. Her current management team definitely has the chops to produce, distribute and market her future music. But does Swift feel confident enough that she can make more money on her own than the guaranteed payout a new label deal would give her? If I were a label exec the possibility of Taylor Swift going solo would scare me to death. Because if she’s successful without them it will be example for every other established artist to follow.
Fasten your seat belt for this one.