13 December 2019CopyrightRory O'Neill

Taylor Swift calls for music industry reform amid copyright battle

Taylor Swift is exercising her synchronisation licensing rights to block unauthorised use of her music amid an ongoing struggle for control of her work, the US pop star has said.

In an interview with Billboard published earlier this week, Swift described the music industry’s contract norms as “antiquated”, and called for artists to take greater control of their copyright.

In particular, Swift spoke about the power of synchronisation licenses, which give the artist the power to control how their music is used commercially.

Composers can invoke these rights to block their work from being used in advertisements or other creative works such as television and film.

“Every week, we get a dozen synch requests to use ‘Shake It Off’ in some advertisement or ‘Blank Space’ in some movie trailer, and we say no to every single one of them,” Swift said.

Swift’s comments come off the back of a controversy over US music mogul Scooter Braun acquiring master rights to her back catalogue.

In October, Swift said she was being blocked from performing her own songs at an awards show by Braun and her ex-manager Scott Borchetta.

While Swift ultimately ended up performing old hits at the American Music Awards, Braun said that his family had received death threats amid the controversy.

Swift has also stated her intention to re-record her back catalogue in order to gain control over her master recordings.

“The reason I’m rerecording my music next year is because I do want my music to live on,” the pop star said.

“I do want it to be in movies, I do want it to be in commercials. But I only want that if I own it.”

Swift blamed an “antiquated contractual system” for the obstacles faced by musicians.

“We’re galloping toward a new industry but not thinking about recalibrating financial structures and compensation rates, taking care of producers and writers,” she said.

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