Thoughts on the Taylor Swift catalog dispute
So there we have it - the master rights to Taylor Swift's first 6 albums have been sold for over USD300 million, changing hands again after just 18 months. The artist is of course upset that the rights to her work are being chucked around like a bitcoin, but in the world of pop music that's just the way things are. Shirley Halperin from Variety was the first to break the news, with an undisclosed investment fund purchasing the catalog from Scooter Braun who acquired the company holding the rights previously.
Though this is part of a growing trend of investment in lucrative catalogs, it is also just another incident in a long line of pop stars seeing the consequences of selling their souls to the pop music devil. It is also the reason why licensing the music of famous artists is getting more expensive everyday, driving buyers to more affordable indie artists or composition houses. Generally, vultures have always been apart of the music business - to this day, the assets of Marc Bolan of T-Rex fame are owned by an unknown hedge fund which controlled his assets when he died. As a result, his child ended up growing in poverty as a result of Bolan not being married to his mother during the fateful car accident that took his life.
The silver lining to this particular incident is that Taylor Swift can and will be re-recording her first 6 albums again, with the intention that fans will listen to those instead of the originals. Still, young artists need to be far better informed at the early stages of their careers so that they don't become tied down to aggressive label contracts that haunt them once they find fame.
For those up and comers looking to sell their songwriting and composing services on the Musing Music platform, we strongly suggest consuming resources from your native Performing Rights Organization (PRO), networking with qualified IP lawyers, and where possible trying to be DIY / Independent as far as possible. Much like running a business, it's always good to be stingy with equity, so that only the most deserved parties receive a stake in your art and that you as the artist always have the controlling share.