Taylor Swift has signed a global multi-album recording deal with Universal Music Group. UMG’s Republic Records will be her label in the U.S., and Swift will own her master recordings.
Swift was formerly with Big Machine Records, which had a “long-term strategic alliance” with Republic, in Universal’s words. That’s how she — and we — got here.
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Though financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, we do know about one particularly interesting clause. Swift included a stipulation that guarantees UMG will share with artists the proceeds from its likely Spotify equity sale. Those monies would not be recoupable against advances.
Swift took to Instagram Monday morning to announce the news herself (in the post above), writing that its “incredibly exciting” to know she will own all of her own master recordings moving forward and noting how important it is to her to “see eye to eye with a label regarding the future of our industry.”
“There was one condition that meant more to me than any other deal point,” Swift wrote. “As part of my new contract with Universal Music Group, I asked that any sale of their Spotify shares result in a distribution of money to their artists, non-recoupable. They have generously agreed to this, at what they believe will be much better terms than paid out previously by other major labels. I see this as a sign that we are headed towards positive change for creators — a goal I’m never going to stop trying to help achieve, in whatever ways I can. I’m so happy to have Sir Lucian Grainge as a partner in these efforts.”
Swift also thanked Big Machine Label Group founder Scott Borchetta “for believing in me as a 14-year-old and for guiding me through over a decade of work that I will always be so proud of.”
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“Few artists in history approach Taylor Swift’s combination of massive global hits and creative brilliance. She is so multi-talented, she can achieve anything,” UMG Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge said in the Monday announcement to media. “I have such enormous respect for Taylor, in particular for her use of her hard-earned influence to promote positive change. Because of her commitment to her fellow artists, not only did she want to partner with a company that understood her creative vision and had the resources and expertise to execute globally on her behalf, she also sought a partner whose approach to artists was aligned with hers. With these shared beliefs, there is so much we can accomplish together, and all of us at UMG are enormously proud to be embarking on the next chapter of her career alongside her.”
“Taylor has not only captured the imagination of an entire generation, but has also redefined the paradigm of the modern music industry. Her commitment to songwriting and performing has earned her the respect of her peers and millions of adoring fans around the world,” Republic Records founder and CEO Monte Lipman added. “I can only imagine what Taylor is capable of achieving in the years to come, both culturally and creatively. I’m beyond thrilled to create an alliance with Republic Records and the incomparable Taylor Swift.”
The 10-time Grammy winner was the youngest-ever recipient of the Grammy for Album of the Year. Also the first female solo artist to win that specific award twice, Swift is the only artist in history with four albums with sales of more than one million copies in their first week of release — 2010’s “Speak Now,’ 2012’s “RED,” 2014’s “1989” and 2017’s “reputation” — respectively.
When Swift was signed to Big Machine, she was distributed internationally through Virgin EMI. Shake it off, you guys.