Taylor Swift is opening up about the importance of artists having ownership over their work, a statement that comes amid the singer’s battle with her former label over the rights to her early music.
Speaking to British Vogue, the singer said that she worked closely with Andrew Lloyd Webber to create the original song, “Beautiful Ghosts,” for the movie adaptation of the musical, Cats. Swift said that writing is important to her as an artist, giving her greater ownership over her music.
“Even if you aren’t a natural writer, you should try to involve yourself in the messages you’re sending,” she shared.
Swift had been pressing for ownership of her first albums during a very public battle with music producer Scooter Braun, who purchased her former label, Big Machine Records. Swift has accused Braun and fellow label head Scott Borchetta of stopping her from using her old songs for a medley performance at the American Music Awards.
Swift called out Borchetta and Braun specifically in an Instagram story on November 14, saying they were trying to prevent her from re-recording her old songs, which would give her ownership over the master copies and ability to use them any way she wished.
“Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun have now said that I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year,” she said, via Us Weekly.
Even before the battle with her former label, Swift has stressed the importance of artists retaining rights over their music, and has frequently spoken up for artists getting their fair share from their work.
In 2015, she took a stand against Apple Music saying she was unhappy with artists not receiving royalties for music during the three-month free trial offered to subscribers. Just days after Taylor posted an open letter on her Tumblr site, Apple announced that it would reverse the policy and pay artists for their work during this period.
She took a similar stand with Spotify, saying that the streaming service could hurt music sales and take money away from the artists who deserve it. Swift expanded on her stance in an essay for The Wall Street Journal, stressing the importance of artists retaining ownership over their work.
“Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable,” she wrote. “Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is.”