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  • Writer's picturePatrick Aloisio

How Taylor Swift is changing the Music Industry

Originally posted on Twitter, you can view the full thread on Twitter here

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Remember when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift at the 2009 music awards?

You remember it “All Too Well,” right? What if I told you that infamous run-in from 12 years ago is just now about to monumentally CHANGE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY FOREVER?

First some context...

1/ Taylor Swift recently re-recorded her album "Red" to record-setting numbers.

She was also the 2nd most streamed artist in 2021!

@taylorswift13 has been a staple of the music industry, and the face of romance heartbreak for 15 years strong.

2/ She first signed a record deal in 2006 with Big Machine that gave them the rights to her NEXT 6 RECORDS in exchange for a cash advance.

This is not an uncommon deal structure in the music business.

3/ The next few years Taylor keeps blowing up beyond her "Wildest Dreams"!

Booming to the point she wins Best Female Music Video in 2009...

4/ What's supposed to be an amazing memory and accomplishment, this was the award that was famously interrupted by Kanye West...

And instead it was an obviously traumatic moment for Taylor.

5/ It kept getting worse when she was continually bullied by random internet trolls, but also publicly bullied by celebrities like Justin Bieber, Kanye, and others.

What’s important for this story though, is they were repped by a guy named Scooter Braun...

6/ If you don't know Scooter, he famously helped launch the careers of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and others.

He also has had several other very successful ventures like producing the TV show Dave, and has his own marketing company.

7/ I won't fully dive into the beef, but Taylor has said for years Scooter and his clients have been continuously bullying her, (talk about some serious "Bad Blood") which you can read more here.

8/ Now let's fast forward to 2019. Taylor is about to have her deal with Big Machine expire that she signed when she was 17.

But then her worst nightmare comes true...

Scooter Braun’s company Ithaca Holdings buys Big Machine, which includes Swift’s catalog, for $300 million.

9/ To make matters worse, Braun quickly flipped the masters of her music a year later for a rumored $450 million.

So the bad guy wins again and makes a cool $150 million in no time.

Taylor gets nothing and still doesn't own her music... (cue "I Knew You Were Trouble" pun)

10/ A weaker person would probably quit at this point, but we are talking about the one and only

So what does she do? Shake it off!

11/ She comes up with a brilliant loop-hole idea:

Re-record her albums that have no restriction period on them.

(Depending on the initial agreement, the labels might have a restriction on how soon an artist can re-record).

12/ By doing this, she not only offers her fans a new & exciting take on her already loved music, but most importantly she will retain ownership of these new versions.

And their success will devalue the ones she doesn't own, which is a nice plus if you're frustrated at the labels.

13/ To her delight, and to the dismay of music industry execs everywhere, her re-recordings absolutely killed it.

They have been streaming off the charts and clogging girl's Instagram stories 24/7.

14/ So what will happen now?

Many other high profile artists will look to follow this same path to retain as much ownership and profits as possible.

Because the current way has created countless situations where hugely successful artists get screwed out of their money.

15/ Industry execs in defense have already begun to extend the wait periods to re-record music.

But ultimately I don't think that will work, and here's why...

16/ There are too many alternative options out there & it's increasing by the day.

Creators are getting more power. You can be your own producer with a computer and a few $100 in gear. You can be your own marketing & distribution team with Soundcloud, YouTube, Spotify, Instagram.

17/ Chance the Rapper self published as an independent and it worked out great.

Same with Frank Ocean.

They’re not the only ones, nor will they be last.

Music Artists to Labels:

18/ New technologies like NFTs will allow creators to monetize their products without the need of 3rd parties or other hands grabbing at the pie.

Really great thread from @cdixon on this point found here.

19/ One cool feature of NFTs, is you can program royalties into it.

So every time concert tickets, memorabilia, or the songs themselves change hands, the artist will still get a cut of the profits since it's written into the code (aka smart contract). More on that here.

20/ Kings of Leon already released an album as an NFT, and it quickly sold over $2 million dollars worth.

This trend will keep getting stronger and stronger!

21/ The future looks good for creators big and small, and bleak for middlemen of all industries.

The natural pressure will always be to cut the people out in between the creator & the consumer. "Your take rate is my opportunity." (More on that found here).

22/ If you thought this thread was interesting or helpful, follow me @Patrick_Aloisio for more threads like this.

I promise there won't be more Taylor Swift song title puns...

Follow for more plain easy analysis.


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