Taylor Swift's Music Catalog Drama: 7 Other Artists Who Have Fought With Their Record Label
Taylor Swift‘s anger finished Scooter Braun purchasing her former record label, Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records, and obtaining the rights to the vast majority of her master recordings is a feeling many musical artists could relate to.
The singer — who abandoned Big Machine Records for Universal Music Group late last season — slammed the documented $300 million deal in a lengthy, impassioned Tumblr post on the weekend, asserting that Braun was”bullying” her for her life’s work now lies in”the hands of somebody who tried to dismantle it.”
Lots of Swifties were shocked from the singer’s claims she was not given the opportunity to get the catalogue herself, only the chance to”sign back up” to Big Machine Records and also”‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every one” she turned in, which would basically bind her to another years-long contract.
Typically, under most contracts between an artist and a label, the latter is given the legal rights to the master recordings. It is a frequent battle within the music industry, and Swift certainly isn’t the first artist to speak up openly about the challenges of seeking ownership for her artwork after attaining celebrity status. From Prince to Kesha, ET is breaking some of the most highly-publicized artist-label feuds.
The legendary singer, who perished in 2016, was a trailblazer and winner in the struggle for artistic control. “In case you don’t own your masters, your master owns you,” he told Rolling Stone in 1996. “People think I’m a crazy fool for composing’slave’ in my head, but when I can not do what I want to do, what am I really? If you stop a guy from dreaming, he becomes a slave.”
At the time, Prince was signed to Warner Music Group and has been battling with the label within the many demands of the contract. He frequently demonstrated up to occasions and on stage with”slave” written on his cheek as an act of protest. Prince then briefly abandoned Warner Music and created NPG Records, but reconciled with the label in 2014 after working out their differences. The”Purple Rain” singer was also victorious in receiving the label to return the U.S. copyrights on some of his studio records to him.
Even when the master recordings have changed owners, the significant labels”virtually never openly admit” it, Evan Cohen, a lawyer, publishing catalogue administrator and proprietor of Manifesto Records, once explained to Grammy.com. This specific case with Prince — when he was celebrated and openly acknowledged by Warner Music Group for renegotiating his contract was a massive exclusion at the time, and also an inspiration for other musicians to follow in his footsteps.
Back in 1985, Michael Jackson paid a reported $47.5 million to acquire The Beatles’ catalogue for a business named ATV. The buy tore apart Jackson’s friendship with the team, composed of Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison. For decades, the ownership of a few of the most well-known catalogs in music history proved to be a painful struggle for McCartney and company.
“Paul and I both learned the hard way about business,” Jackson — who actually learned about the value of publishing in McCartney — composed in his 1988 autobiography, Moonwalk. “And the significance of publishing and royalties and the dependence on songwriting.”
Jackson later sold 50% of ATV to Sony for nearly $100 million in 1995, creating Sony/ATV Music Publishing. In the end, from 2017, McCartney managed to reach a settlement Sony/ATV over reporting on The Beatles catalogue under the US Copyright Act of 1976, which allows songwriters to recover copyright from music publishers 35 years after they gave them away.
With help from her mom, Diana Levesque (who JoJo states had no previous expertise in the audio business ), the”Leave (Get Out)” singer signed a contract with Blackground Records in 2004. After attaining pop up success with her self-titled debut album, followed closely by 2006’s The High Road, her proposed third album was not published. JoJo started to battle with the tag for not keeping her album on grip, but also needing to allow her out of her contract.
“I’d signed a seven-album deal, and I guessed I could put out an album each couple of years decades,” she recalled in a 2015 interview with Vulture. “I wished to continue making music with my loved ones, so that I didn’t see it like a massive commitment. And I also believed through dialog and an understanding that when it was not working out between us, it would be OK and we could go our separate ways.”
“We’re assured that the deal has been quite regular, and the lawyer I had been with in the time ,’This is a fantastic deal, you should not look into it any farther than that which it is. You’re gont be shielded,'” she continued. “We didn’t know anything. We thought,’You know over people, and that means you must be proper.'”
Observing a decade-long legal conflict, JoJo was finally able to break free from the tag in 2014.
Kesha’s long, protracted and very public legal battle on her songs concentrates more on her attempts to get out of her contract with songs producer Dr. Luke, along with his Kemosabe Records label, which is owned by Sony. Kesha — who then spelled out her name Ke$ha — launched her debut 2010 album Animal using all the Kemosabe Records, in addition to her 2012 followup, Warrior.
In October 2014, Kesha filed suit against Dr. Luke, accusing producer of drugging and raping her, which she asserted subsequently resulted in an eating disorder, which she sought therapy for in January 2014. The push of the singer’s suit focused on asking the judge to let her out of her contract, under which she had been obligated to record albums.
Dr. Luke promptly refused all allegations of misconduct which Kesha introduced, and maintained she had been making her story to get out of her contract. Kesha vehemently claimed her accusations since the legal drama performed over the next four decades.
In February 2016, New York New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich rejected Kesha’s petition to get a preliminary injunction, which would have allowed her to capture songs on another label until the case had been finalized. While Sony argued they would have enabled Kesha to capture songs with Kemosabe Records under the auspices of another manufacturer, Kesha refused this potential.
Without being lawfully permitted to split her contract, Kesha published a new “Praying” in July 2017, along with her third album, Rainbow, the next August. The album was published until Kemosabe Records, since the courts claimed the validity of her contract with the tag, but wasn’t produced by Dr. Luke.
Kesha also composed an article on”Praying” for an matter of Lena Dunham’s newsletter, Lenny Letter, where she shared:”This song is about me finding peace in the simple fact that I can’t control everything — since trying to control everybody was killing me. It is about learning to let go and understand that the world is in charge of my destiny, not me.”
After Clarkson won the first time of American Idol, she signed on with RCA recordings and, as stated by the singer, her connection with the tag was rocky and strained, to say the very least — especially in the early decades.
Clarkson informed Variety in October 2017 she had to fight with the tag over what her sound ought to be in the very beginning, and had to go to the mat to acquire execs to let”Miss Independent” to be the lead single off her debut 2003 album Thankful, which ended her up to fame.
Afterward, music mogul Clive Davis took charge of RCA in 2004, and Clarkson remembered how she had high hopes that her connection with the label would improve, but that didn’t end up being the circumstance. When Clarkson played with”Thanks to You” to get Davis, together with all the hopes it had been comprised on her sophomore album Breakaway, Clarkson maintained Davis denigrated the tune and herself.
“I had been told that was a s**tty tune since it didn’t thought,” Clarkson said, adding that she had been told this in the midst of a meeting with several execs. “A bunch of guys thought it was OK to take a seat around a young woman and ignites her. I had been told I should shut up and sing. And , this really is the very best part. He [Davis] played the song which ought to be on the album, that was’Behind These Hazel Eyes,’ which I wrote. Am I a **tty writer?”
Her clashing with Davis continued, and she claims he strove to entirely bury her third album, My December. But, Clarkson maintained producing hits till her contractual obligation was fulfilled after seven newspapers, and she promptly left RCA and signed with Atlantic, who released her 2017 album Meaning of Life.
The popular girl group — composed of Tionne”T-Boz” Watkins, Rozonda”Chilli” Thomas and Lisa”Left Eye” Lopes — filed for bankruptcy protection in 1995, around the same period their Crazysexycool album was among the most popular of its period and wracked up numerous Grammy awards. The move came after a major dispute with Arista Records and LaFace Records over the contract they intially signed in 1991.
“I expect we go down in history for being more than just another famous act that got ripped off,” Lopes said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times prior to her tragic death in 2002. “It is tough to think that a group could sell 14 million albums and still be treated so poorly. But guess what? That is a cutthroat business full of greedy people who make the most of naive young artists.”
“Everybody treats us like stars now, except our own record company,” added Watkins. “After we signed our contract, we were under the belief that when we offered a lot of documents they’d provide us a better deal. However many files we sell or awards we win, they just treat people like dirt.”
In that same interview, Lopes maintained that TLC was receiving less than 1 percent of the estimated $175 million in revenues that the group’s songs had created around the world. “When you start out, you’re so trusting. You truly feel blessed simply to get your foot in the door,” Thomas explained. “However, the bigger you get, the greater hands want to choose your pockets. We all know our producers helped us produce those documents, but we’re tired of watching everybody cash in on our success we.”
The”Level Up” singer had a public falling out with Jive Records in 2011, after reports started to swirl that they had dropped her after the launch of her album Basic Instinct. However, in a public letter written by the singer for her lovers, Ciara stated she wished it were true, and she desired nothing more than to part ways with the label.
“It is a fact I have asked and I pray that my label will launch me. I have had some wonderful times and success with my label, but occasionally enjoy all amazing things, its that point where I believe we don’t share the very same perspectives on who I am as an artist,” she wrote, adding that she believed Jive was not supporting her by encouraging the album. “I have a lot of me as a artist I still want to give to the world along with my lovers. A launch would allow me to go be creative with all those who care and know me as an artist. In a limited time, I’ll be able to bring to you a new music energy along with a visual delight!”
Ciara eventually moved to Epic recordings for her next two albums before starting her own record label, Beauty Marks Entertainment, in 2017, where she released her latest album from May, also known as Beauty Marks. One thing that she has been very vocal about because leaving Jive is keeping control over her own music.
“Being in a position to own my masters has been very cool. While I see opportunities come I’m like,’Yes I want that,'” Ciara said through a Makers Conference Q&A earlier this year. “To have that freedom and flexibility has been amazing.”
ET caught up with Ciara in April, about the record of her music video for”Thinkin Bout You,” and she opened up about starting her own entertainment business.
“It was huge. I’d dreamt of creating my own tag for a while,” she voiced. “During this stage in my profession, you’ve worked so hard so you really need to completely benefit from the work of your labor. So that’s what this moment is about for me. It’s about ownership, it’s about self-empowerment in addition, it’s not only myself, but also young women and people all over the globe… This can be the best feeling. I have managed to find out so far with this new chapter”