Inside Taylor Swift’s Music Battle: A Breakdown of What She’s Combating For and Why

So, what does this all mean? Swift, who wrote and co-wrote all of her songs in her entire music catalog, is fighting to obtain her album masters, her original recordings. It seems as though, when Swift signed her record deal at 15, Big Machine Records put in the contract that the label would own the masters of her first six albums. Why are the masters important? Copies are made from the original master recordings, so owning them is very valuable.

Paul Hitchman, president of music recording company AWAL, said in a Sept. 2018 article, “By owning your master recordings, you keep creative control and you’re free to release your music however you want via whichever channels you choose.”

He added, “If an artist owns their own rights, they are in the best position to negotiate with a record company and obtain the best possible terms and controls.”

So, though Swift will receive royalties for her past music catalog, she won’t be as in control as she would be if she owned the masters. Instead, Braun and his company—who now own Swift’s masters—will be, as CNN notes, in turn making a profit from Swift’s streams and sales.

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