Lesson to be learned: Artists deserve ownership of their work


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Over the course of her career, Taylor Swift has won 10 Grammys and has been nominated for 35 in total. Swift’s songs have made it to No. 1 18 times.

“I’m so sick of running as fast as I can / Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man,” sings Taylor Swift on her new track entitled “The Man.” 

After everything that’s happened in the past few months, it pays to wonder if Swift had some sort of insight into the future.

For those who haven’t been keeping track of this musical battle, let’s start at the beginning. 

Back in June, before the release of Swift’s seventh studio album “Lover,” her former manager Scott Borchetta sold the masters to her six previous albums to Scooter Braun. Swift had previously left her record label Big Machine Records (which she had been with for 12 years) for Universal Music Group back in 2018. This new deal included the provision that she gets to own the masters of her future recordings.

The problem with the masters getting sold to Braun (who currently manages artists like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande) is that Swift alleges that she had been trying to buy her masters for years and that Braun had been a constant bully in her life, something Borchetta was aware of. 

The only way she could have bought her masters is if she recorded a new album for each old album, something that is beyond ridiculous for an artist to have to do. 

Finally, we come to the present, with Swift detailing that Borchetta and Braun tried to block her from performing her old songs at the 2019 American Music Awards, where Swift was honored as the Artist of the Decade.

This is wrong on so many levels. These songs rightfully belong to Swift, as many of these she wrote herself when she was as young as 16. Though Swift was eventually allowed to perform her old songs, it still leaves a bad taste in many people’s mouths. 

Many times, young artists sign contracts without having any idea of what is in them. Even when they read the fine print, they still end up getting screwed over by big-name executives that wield enormous amounts of power over them.

It’s a story that we’ve heard too many times in recent years. From Kesha and her legal battles against Dr. Luke to Kim Fowley assaulting a member of The Runaways, young women constantly seem to be at risk from older male executives with too much power. 

If someone with as big of a platform such as Swift, has broken countless records and made millions of dollars, can be manipulated like this and have to fight tirelessly against it, I can’t even imagine what smaller artists have to go through.

Some might say that Swift is doing all of this for attention; I say that she’s bringing awareness to the issue so future stars like herself don’t have to go through the same thing. 

Artists deserve to own the things they create; without them, what else do they have?