Last month Taylor Swift got stung by a business deal gone bad. This month she’s made it clear that she will follow Kelly Clarkson’s advice to re-record the music from her first six albums, the ones now owned by her nemesis Scooter Braun. Once re-recorded she will effectively make the earlier work obsolete, which will reduce its value to Braun and give her at least some control of her musical history. This is another story to add to a long list of recording artists who lost the rights to their own musical past. Some lost the rights forever while others fought expensive legal battles to get back what was theirs – see Billy Joel. Most of the artists, who lost their rights, did so by signing them away when they were too young to know better or too anxious for a career to care. Taylor Swift was neither. She had proper representation and she cared – even at her young age. Her original deal made her a wealthy woman, unlike many artists who got very little for their creativity. In Taylor’s case, the deal blew up at the very end, when she wanted out. The exit fee was too much for her to accept and Scott Borchetta, owner of her record label, Big Machine, sold out. In walked Scooter. At the end, this is a fight between three people, all of whom are worth hundreds of millions.
Author George B. Meier