Taylor Swift Leaves Big Machine, Signs New UMG/Republic Records DealPhoto by Kevin Winters/Getty Music News Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is leaving long-time label home Big Machine Records for a new deal with Universal Music Group and Republic Records, as announced by the country-turned-pop superstar in an Instagram post Monday.
Earlier this month, Swift became a free agent for the first time in her career when the one-year anniversary of Reputation, her sixth album, marked the end of her Big Machine deal, but she was quickly snapped up by UMG and Republic, who distributed her previous records through the Nashville-based, independent label. (That’s UMG Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge and Republic CEO Monte Lipman alongside Swift in the photo.)
As part of the new deal, Swift made one big ask of her new label home: “I asked that any sale of their Spotify shares result in a distribution of money to their artists, non-recoupable,” she writes in her IG post. “They have generously agreed to this, at what they believe will be much better terms and paid out previously by other major labels.”
Swift made a high-profile exit from Spotify in 2014, stating that it didn’t pay artists fairly for their work. The following year, she penned an open letter to rival Apple Music that compelled the company to reverse its policy of not paying artists for music streamed during the service’s three-month free trial period.
In today’s announcement, Swift also reveals that she now owns her master recordings going forward. Big Machine still owns the masters on her previous records; label owner Scott Borchetta’s reluctance to give Swift ownership on those recordings was said to be a big part of her exit. It’s a big blow for Big Machine, for which Swift’s records made up 41.2 percent of the label’s sales and streams last year, and 34.1 percent of this year’s so far, per Billboard calculations made using Niesen Music data.
With the move, Swift is now firmly out of the country music fold where she got her start. Swift still has two more dates left on the Reputation Stadium Tour in Tokyo before she presumably gears up for her next album.