It’s official, Taylor Swift is leaving Big Machine Records in favor of Republic Records and Universal Music Group. Swift had been signed to Big Machine since her debut, back when she was just 15 years old.
Now, after 13 years, she is making her first big move to a new label. It’s not without several major stipulations either.
What the Deal Means for Her
On Monday, Swift confirmed the transition and explained just what it means for her as well as other UMG artists. Accompanying the post was a photo showing UMG Chairman/CEO Sir Lucian Grainge and Republic Records CEO and co-founder Monte Lipman. The 10-time Grammy award winner was posed between the two, and the caption read, “My new home.”
“I’m ecstatic to announce that my musical home will be Republic Records and Universal Music Group,” Swift said on Instagram. “Over the years, Sir Lucian Grainge and Monte Lipman have been such incredible partners. It’s so thrilling to me that they, and the UMG team, will be my label family moving forward. It’s also incredibly exciting to know that I’ll own all of my master recordings that I make from my own.”
Even more important than Swift keeping her masters, however, was the work she’s doing to help other artists.
Protecting Other Creators
“It’s really important to me to see eye to eye with a label regarding the future of our industry,” she told her 113 million followers. “I feel so motivated by new opportunities created by the streaming world and the ever changing landscape of our industry. I also feel strongly that streaming was founded on and continues to thrive based on the magic created by artists, writers and producers.”
She went on to make it even more clear what she’s doing to ensure other artists are treated fairly.
“There was one condition that meant more to me than any other deal point,” Swift explained. “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.”
Positive Changes Ahead
Swift has been incredibly outspoken over the years when it comes to artist compensation. She’s criticized both Apple and Spotify, penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, and more. At one point, she even pulled her entire catalog from Spotify, though it is now available once again.
“I see this as a sign that we are headed towards positive changes for creators—a goal I’m never going to stop trying to help achieve, in whatever ways I can,” she added. “I’m so happy to have Sir Lucian Grainge as a partner in these efforts.”
UMG currently has a 3.5% share in Spotify. While they’d already agreed to share the money should they sell their shares, Swift has ensured the payouts are non-recoupable. In other words, even if an artist owes money to the label, they’d still get their share.