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EMAILED ON November 21, 2018 BY Conor Grant

Taylor Swift’s new record deal sounds so good even her rivals will sing along 

Taylor Swift is leaving Big Machine Records — the Nashville-based label that “discovered” her when she was 14 — to ink one of the biggest artist deals in history with Universal Music Group.

But this isn’t your average megadeal: Swift also negotiated with Universal to give her rights to all of her master records — and it could help other artists do the same. 

They Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Over more than a decade with Big Machine, Taylor Swift won 10 Grammys, became the youngest-ever winner of the Grammy for the album of the year (and the only woman to win it twice), and was the only artist in history to make 4 albums that sold 1m copies in their first week.

But Swift wasn’t satisfied. Even after breaking her own record for highest grossing concert tour by a female singer with a gross of $191m, she still didn’t own the rights to her master records — Big Machine did.

So despite a friendly relationship, Swift finally had to cut the cord to win full financial control over her hits.

‘You Belong With Me’ — Universal Music Group

When her contract expired this November, Swift became the hottest free agent in the music world, triggering a label bidding war that resulted in a massive contract with Universal (the deal size is undisclosed) that guaranteed her rights to all her future records — an unprecedented win for an artist.

But Swift wasn’t content winning an unprecedented battle for the rights to her own music — she wanted to help other artists do it, too.

Ars gratia artists

Swift’s deal isn’t just good for her — it’s music to all artists’ ears. 

As a part her contract, Swift demanded that if/when Universal Music Group (who is a major investor in Spotify) sells any of its shares in the streaming company in the future, it must distribute the profits to all of its artists (including her, of course).

Swift is a great singer, but she’s an even better businesswoman — and now all the artists in the music biz will share in the royalties.

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