Taylor Swift on Music Ownership

Last week, Taylor Swift re-released her Grammy-winning, sophomore album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version). The album gave fans a taste of what is to come as Swift plans to re-record her first six albums in an effort to reclaim ownership of her masters. In the last few years, Swift has been outspoken about artists’ right to own their own work. Swift is no stranger to wielding her influence to make big changes in the music industry. See Taylor’s thoughts on taking on streaming giants as well as her unprecedented contract with her new label below.

I’m very well aware that the music industry is changing, and it will continue to change. And I am open to that change. I am open to progress. I am not open to the financial model that is currently in place. I really believe that we in the music industry can work together to find a way to bond technology with integrity.

—2014 Billboard Women in Music Awards, December 12, 2014

Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.

Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2014

Every choice you make in a management meeting affects your life a year-and-a-half from now. I know exactly where I’m going to be next year at this time. That’s because I’m sitting there in those management meetings every single week and scheduling everything and approving things, or not approving things, based on what I feel is right for my career at this point.

Billboard, December 2, 2011

The contracts [with Apple Music] had just gone out to my friends, and one of them sent me a screenshot of one of them. I read the term “zero percent compensation to rights holders.” Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I’ll write a song and I can’t sleep until I finish it, and it was like that with the letter [to Apple Music].

Vanity Fair, August 11, 2015

Apple treated me like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about. And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow [Spotify] reacted to criticism like a corporate machine.

Vanity Fair, August 11, 2015

It’s really important to me to see eye to eye with a label regarding the future of our industry. I feel so motivated by new opportunities created by the streaming world and the ever-changing landscape of our industry . . . I also feel strongly that streaming was founded on and continues to thrive based on the magic created by artists, writers, and producers.

—Instagram post, November 19, 2018

As part of my new contract with Universal Music Group, I asked that any sale of their Spotify shares result in a distribution of money to their artists, non-recoupable. . . . I see this as a sign that we are headed towards positive change for creators—a goal I’m never going to stop trying to help achieve.

—Instagram post, November 19, 2018

For anyone who wants to create music, for any little kid who’s taking piano lessons right now, I want them to have an industry to go into.

—Beats 1, December 13, 2015

For more Taylor Swift, check out Taylor Swift in Her Own Words.


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