Taylor Swift is opening up about her battle to control her master recordings and why she decided to speak out about protecting artists’ rights.
The Lover songstress sat down with Billboard magazine recently, where she was honored as the publication’s Woman of the Decade, and she opened up about her public fight with her old record label, Big Machine, and her dissatisfaction with the established norms of the music industry.
“We need to think about how we handle master recordings, because this isn’t it,” Swift shared. “I spent 10 years of my life trying rigorously to purchase my masters outright and was then denied that opportunity, and I just don’t want that to happen to another artist if I can help it.”
Swift made headlines in June when she took to Tumblr with a lengthy post accusing Big Machine Records — including the label exec Scott Borchetta and music manager Scooter Braun, who had recently purchased the label — of bullying her, and not giving her a chance to buy back her masters outright.
“God, I would have paid so much for them!” Swift told Billboard. “Anything to own my work that was an actual sale option, but it wasn’t given to me.”
In response, Swift has declared that she plans on re-recording and re-releasing her old hits as soon as she’s contractually allowed so that she can have full control over her catalog.
“The reason I’m re-recording my music next year is because I do want my music to live on. I do want it to be in movies, I do want it to be in commercials,” she explained, “but I only want that if I own it.”
“It’ll feel like regaining a freedom and taking back what’s mine,” she added. “When I created [these songs], I didn’t know what they would grow up to be. Going back in and knowing that it meant something to people is actually a really beautiful way to celebrate what the fans have done for my music.”
With her many qualms about the music industry, the question was raised as to whether or not Swift has considered starting her own record label sometime in the future, so that she could have more control on the business side of the process.
“I do think about it every once in a while, but if I was going to do it, I would need to do it with all of my energy,” she said. “I know how important that is, when you’ve got someone else’s career in your hands, and I know how it feels when someone isn’t generous.”
Swift has been a leading voice among recording artists — particularly female recording artists — when it comes to speaking out about the importance of artists’ rights and fighting for what she feels she deserves. According to Swift, she feels a responsibility to use her platform, obtained by virtue of her enormous fame, to be the voice for others who don’t have quite as much sway and power.
“New artists and producers and writers need work, and they need to be likable and get booked in sessions, and they can’t make noise — but if I can, then I’m going to,” Swift said. “I know that it seems like I’m very loud about this, but it’s because someone has to be.”
Swift’s full interview appears in the Dec. 14 issue of Billboard magazine.