Sunday, June 16, 2024

In One Day, Taylor Swift Has Become Prince: Either She’ll Write Slave on Face, Get a Glyph, or Become the Artist Formerly Known As…


Taylor Swift fans are too young to know this but a long time ago, in a far off galaxy, Prince– the late R&B superstar– wanted his masters back from Warner Bros. Records. He’d been with them for 18 years or so and had had enough. He decided to leave Warner Bros. and go off on his own.

Surprise! Warner Bros. didn’t want to give Prince his masters. So Prince changed his name to the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, forced journalists to refer to him with a symbol or glyph, and wrote Slave on his face.

That was circa 1995-96. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Now Taylor Swift has allowed herself to lose her master recordings to her former label, Big Machine. She moved on to greener pastures with Universal Music’s Republic Records. Who knows what they gave her to induce abandonment of her precious songs? But she’s not going to get them back.

A petition has popped up on urging Scooter Braun to give back her art. It’s not going to happen. He paid $300 million for those masters. They are his, fair and square. Maybe Taylor can use a glyph, or appear as The Artist Formerly Known As…

Prince, by the way, re-recorded his original records. At least some of them. They have never replaced the original hits. In time, Prince made up with Warner Bros. before he died. He had no choice.

Thanks to Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta, we have Taylor’s deal memo right here.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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