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Taylor Swift's Album Re-Recordings Are Causing Record Labels To Change Contracts

Labels are looking to prevent artists from re-recording their old material after Taylor Swift has been able to hugely profit from the practice.

Taylor Swift’s success after re-recording her earlier albums has sparked record labels to change contracts to stop performers from ever being able to do the same — or at least to delay performers up to 30 years, in some cases, after they leave a label.

Labels like Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group, have recently overhauled the contracts they give out to new signees that would make the artists wait 10-30 years before they could re-record releases or never be allowed to after they leave a record company, top attorneys told Billboard magazine.

One veteran attorney Josh Karp said the first time he saw it pop up on a contract it definitely got his attention.

“The first time I saw it, I tried to get rid of it entirely,” Karp told the outlet. “I was just like, ‘What is this? This is strange. Why would we agree to further restrictions than we’ve agreed to in the past with the same label?'”

“It becomes one of a multitude of items you’re fighting,” Karp added.

Another attorney, Gandhar Savur, told the outlet he “recently did a deal with a very big indie that had a 30-year re-record restriction in it. Which obviously is much longer than I’m used to seeing.”

“I think the majors are also trying to expand their re-record restrictions but in a more measured way, they are generally not yet able to get away with making such extreme changes,” he added.

“Obviously, this is a big headline topic, the Taylor Swift thing,” Savur continued. “Labels, of course, are going to want to do whatever they can to address that and to prevent it. But there’s only so much they can do. Artist representatives are going to push back against that, and a certain standard is ingrained in our industry that is not easy to move away from.”

Before Swift announced she was re-recording her albums — in order to control her master recordings after Scooter Braun bought them from Big Machine Records, it was thought to be a niche thing. But after Swift’s had massive success releasing ‘Taylor Version’ of her biggest hits, recording companies are taking steps because it’s driving down the value of the original recordings.

Previously a contract would state that an artists had to wait five to seven years from the release date of the original song, or two years after the contract expired. But now that timeframe has been pushed back much farther.

“Now, because of all this Taylor Swift s**t, we have an even new negotiation. It’s awful,” music attorney Dina LaPolt told the outlet. “We’re seeing a lot of ‘perpetuity’ s**t, When we were negotiating deals with lawyers, before we would get the proposal, we’d get the phone call from the head of business affairs. We literally would say, ‘If you send that to me, it will be on f***ing Twitter in 10 minutes.’ It never showed up.”

Well if labels actually would give artists ownership of their music and art they wouldn't need to re-record their material.

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