Can Taylor Swift change the music industry?
Ever since recorded music came a big business artists have been getting screwed by their record. Labels this is is not a secret. Ask anyone who pays attention to the industry and they will give you plenty of examples outside the industry though. It's not usually public book unless it really interferes with an artist ability to make music and even that it's never this public lately. There's there's been a new shift that has affected me personally and that I feel is a potentially harmful force in our industry and as your resident loud person I feel the need to bring it up. And that is the unregulated world of private equity coming in and buying our music as if it is real estate this it just happened to me without my approval consultation or consent you might recognize that voice it is one of the richest voices in the world. So yes Taylor swift can afford to take a risk. She used her acceptance speech when she got the woman of the decade honor at the billboard awards to to address her very public feud with scooter. Braun who is the new owner of her former label big machine and along with that the owner of dozens of songs thanks swift recorded early in her career. So what happens now. Is this a new precedent for the music industry with artists. Speaking openly about who Owns the art that they create or is this Taylor swift doing it. Because she's Taylor and she can and how will her former label and scooter bron fight back. Jordan Heath Rawlings. This is the big story. Amanda Kingsland is the National Music Director for country music stations on Rogers radio across the country. She's been following Taylor swift since Taylor. Her came onto the scene. Hey Amanda Hey how are you. I'm doing really well. And why don't we start with. Do you remember when you heard Taylor Swift for the first time time and what you thought I do remember actually i. It was the first few months I started here at the radio station. We received We received her album. I'm in an envelope With a bit of a plan it kind of came with this rap sheet that Said who she was and what the plans were for her. You know this would've been maybe early. Two thousand six. So kinda pre people sending you an email with all the details so it came in a big envelope and I remember sitting down and listening to it and I re I. Yeah I remember some of the songs thinking this is a little kid and I remember some of them thinking. These are incredible lyrics. I remember immediately really falling in love with the Song Teardrop Guitar. I thought it was really really smart. How for single Tim McGraw resonated and how they were able to use that to really get a foot in the door and country music and I remember being here at the station when the phones blew up asking who that girl was or who what who sings that song that the toxic Tim McGraw your she resonated with people immediately? And you don't see that a lot with artists you see having to play them a time especially in a time where social social media wasn't where it is now there wasn't a big social campaign or digital campaign to put her in front of people. They did that organically and it caught on so quickly. Where where did she come from? And how did she come up in the countryside of the business. We'll Taylor grew up in Pennsylvania on a Christmas tree farm which I always think is such a cool fact and just very authentic in the country lifestyle. I think to grow up in In the woods or growing your own trees Turned to songwriting really early and You know obviously her. The parents were super supportive and realized that she had a gift because they brought her from Pennsylvania to Nashville In the early two thousands when she was about thirteen she got a publishing deal with Sony at fourteen years old and then signed a record deal with big machine records from there and and you know she spent time writing songs and then did what you often hear. People people do and went from label to label asking to play songs for people in asking for a record deal. So that's sort of how things got rolling you know. She went up and down music row pitching her songs as a fourteen year old was at guitar and got told no over and over and over. So yeah I think that that's a really that's a very you know picturesque story. You would hear about somebody going up and down music row in Nashville asking. You know knocking on doors and asking to play their songs right. It's like the the quintessential central origin story. But then she signed with big machine. And what happened when she was just getting started with them. That matters now like why we're talking about it today. Yeah yeah well. I think that how big machine started is kind of important to this too. Big Machine was not a record. Label Pre Taylor Swift Scupper shadow left. His current aren't label. who wasn't interested in signing fourteen year old writing her own music which was a caveat in how she wanted to do things and so he decided to start big machine? Gene records Not launched with Taylor Swift. And you know I've I've heard Scott sister actually worked for the record label for years with us on the Canadian side and she told me about them sitting on the floor of an office space he had rented and there was nothing in it yet and he called in some favors from some other people in the industry and they actually were pudding Taylor's albums in envelopes on the floor in this office space and mailing them to radio stations hoping for airplay and that sort of how big machine started was with booth with Taylor. Was it talked about in those early days. When she signed that record deal which was two thousand six? was you know that part of that deal. Was that the publishing rights to the songs things that she was singing were owned by week machine. Every person has a different deal an every person has different publishing houses or how they get songs and how those are broken broken down as far as royalties go. It's all different for everybody so I guess you know at that time. It didn't really matter and then fast forward a handful of years in a whole lot of success excess and You Know Scott selling the label. which involves Taylor's music and the rights to that music? So that's how we end up here today. Eight were hearing this buzz around Taylor not getting to perform her own songs or Taylor you know not owning that music that we all have come to love and why. She's where she is today Eh. Can you explain a little bit about how those rights work. Because I think some of us who listen to music take for granted that different people might own the actual rights to a song. But I haven't heard ever before really of somebody not being allowed to play their own music so just so you know we can clarify that. Rights eight means copyright. It means you know licensed music and that means that the publishing rights would earn you money when it streamed downloaded put on a CD performed live heard on a radio station used in a television. Show anytime you hear that song whether it be live or recorded somebody Is He's getting paid because it's been licensed so that's what we're talking about when we say you know not owning the rights are not having the rights now because of a breakdown of how those come together and again it's different for a a lot of people in how much percentage they get of each category by category. I mean there's a lyricist or a songwriter. There's a musician who pulls out altogether. And then it's published through a publishing company who copyrights it who gets a percentage so You know Taylor's case. She may be collecting royalties as a songwriter air. But she doesn't own the rights to those songs and doesn't get to control Unfortunately with those albums released with big machine she doesn't get to control when those songs are used because she's she doesn't have those rights right so they can sell them to a commercial and she can't do anything about that right now now as far as I understand if they were to do that she was still get a portion based on being the lyricist songwriter. But she doesn't get say on how it's used. So how did this escalate into the kind of public feud that we've been following for the back half of this year. Well in my opinion Taylor swift is an incredible incredible businessperson and she. She always has been even when she was on. Good terms with big machine and sitting in those boardrooms. She was very active in the decision. Making so I don't know that not having the rights to these. These songs became a problem until she wasn't in that boardroom anymore. But she's always been outstanding to her fans she's cultivated. This incredible following she gives gives so much to those people who then she can in turn ask things of as well and when this became a problem for her she was able to turn to her fans through her social platforms and let them know what was going on and request their support to get her to where she wanted to be. And you know as much as there's so many people have somebody opinions on this But quite frankly it's quite brilliant to who use this fan base that she has and that she's cultivated to get the results. She thinks that she deserves her. Needs to see and I think that's how we all ended up hearing about it. Is Taylor making us all aware And again that's one side of the story when Taylor comes out and makes aware of what's happening but it started with the company being sold or with majority sheriff of big machine being sold his scooter Braun And she was unhappy happy with that. And then she disclosed The publishing and how what the breakdown was and how. She doesn't have control over those songs. Everybody loves to hear her sing. So what is Taylor. Claiming she wants done like what does she say happened. and and how does she feel. She's been wronged. I've heard I've seen a lot of