Taylor Swift has ensured that Universal Music Group artists will profit from the sale of Spotify shares
On Monday (19th November 2018), Taylor Swift lifted all speculation about her next label move, taking to Instagram to announce a new deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) and Republic Records. Departing Big Machine, her label home of 12 years, Swift leaves a team that has guided her to becoming the biggest pop star in the world.
Having sold over 32 million albums in the U.S. alone, she is one of the few artists continuing to record dizzying physical sales figures. With 22 million monthly listeners on Spotify, it is no surprise that her streaming figures are equally as colossal. Whilst the deal is sure to make her a lot of cash, Taylor held out for a clause which could greatly benefit thousands of other artists.
A clause in Taylor Swift’s new deal states that UMG must share proceeds of any sale of their shares in Spotify with artists on the label. More crucially, this money will be non-recoupable, meaning it will not count against unrecouped balances such as advances.
“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 artist, non-recoupable,” Swift explained in an Instagram post. “They have generously agreed to this, at what they believe will be much better terms than paid out previously by other major labels.”
Spearheading “positive change for creators”, Swift also confirmed that, as part of the deal, she will also retain ownership of the masters of her future recordings. Whilst this is a norm for legacy artists, this is a first for a star who is yet to hit her peak.
“I feel so motivated by using 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,” her statement read.
Both Warner and Merlin have sold their Spotify shares, while Sony has sold half, the latter dismissing unrecouped balances when it came to paying out shares. However, Universal is yet to sell a share. According to Music Business Worldwide’s calculations, Universal has a stake of around 3.5%, which would be worth $1 billion under Spotify’s current $28 billion. Whilst there are a lot of artists on the UMG roster, the day it sells its shares will remain a fun one for its artists. Thanks Tay Tay.