Contracts 101 Taught by Taylor Swift

You read that correctly. Although Taylor can teach us all about popular music, she also has much to tell us about the importance of protecting ourselves contractually.

The back story is that Swift’s recording label, Big Machine Records, understood the value of a good contract better than the artist did. As a result, Swift’s contract with the label gave ownership of her master recordings to Big Machine. When the contract expired in 2018 and Taylor had become a huge star, the increased value of the masters remained with the label and Swift walked away with no ownership rights to her first 6 albums.

Subsequently, Big Machine sold Swift’s masters to a private equity group, which then resold them to Shamrock Holdings in 2019 for a reported $300 million. Swift would have none of this, and so decided to re-record those six albums, this time retaining ownership of the recording masters. While there is no guarantee that her subsequent recordings will totally displace the demand for the original recordings, chances are good that Swift has mitigated the damage caused by her earlier contractual mistake.

LESSON: When you enter into a business transaction, always have it reviewed by a competent attorney acting on your behalf to ensure that your best interests are being served. So many recording artists through the years have lost a substantial portion of their livelihoods owning to poor management. Similarly, countless small businesses have suffered because of their short-sighted belief that paying a lawyer to represent them was too great an expense. IT IS NOT!

If you have a business that regularly deals with contracts (and almost all do), call Agins Law Firm, PLC, PLC at (480) 401-2660 or visit our website at www.aginslawfirm.com for representation in your contract dealings.