What does it all mean? Swift, who has written and co-written all of her songs across her entire music catalog, is struggling to keep her album masters, her original recordings. It seems like when Big Machine Records signed their recording deal at age 15, Big Machine Records signed a deal that the label would own the masters of their 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 the music recording company AWAL, said in a September 2018 article, “Owning your master recordings gives you creative control and freedom to publish your music however you want, through the channels you choose.”
He added, “When an artist has their own rights they are in the best position to negotiate with a record company and have the best possible terms and controls.”
Although Swift will receive royalties on her previous music catalog, she doesn’t have as much control as if she owned the masters. Instead, as CNN notes, Braun and his company – which now own Swift’s Masters – will again benefit from Swift’s streams and sales.