Obviously, news about Taylor Swift has nothing to do with heavy metal. However, her new contract negotiations do affect a lot of metal bands – everybody from Avenged Sevenfold to Five Finger Death Punch to Venom to Bullet For My Valentine to Atreyu to Electric Wizard to Prophets of Rage to Nine Inch Nails to Strike Anywhere to Entheos.
But what does Taylor Swift have to with any of these bands, you may ask? Well, her contract has a very interesting provision. Taylor just signed a new deal with Republic Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. One of the terms of her deal was that if Universal Music Group sells its shares of Spotify, the label would distribute a percentage of the earnings from that sale to all the artists they represent.
Vox explains the nitty gritty:
Swift has made it a condition of her contract that if Universal Music Group sells its Spotify shares, the label will distribute some of the money from that sale to all of the artists it represents, “non-recoupable,”meaning it won’t count against their advances. It’s a huge commitment from UMG that, until Swift’s deal, was far from assured.
UMG owns a 3.5 percent stake in Spotify, estimated to be worth $850 million. The label hasn’t sold any of its shares yet — but other record labels have. As Music Business Worldwide explains, earlier this year, Sony sold about half of its 5.7 percent stake in Spotify for $768 million, and Warner Brothers sold 75 percent of its shares — a less than 5 percent stake — for $504 million. The result was a huge influx of cash for both companies, and while both said that they would be sharing the money with their artists, Sony artists ended up seeing a lot more of it than Warner Brothers artists did.
Vox explains the reason Sony artists got a ton more money than artists on Warner is because Warner counted the money they were sending to artists against "recoupables," meaning money the label had already paid/lended to artists to work on their music. Sony didn't bother covering their own recoupables and just gave the artists money.
Writing on Instagram, Swift explained:
“There was one condition which meant more to me than any other deal point. 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 artists, non-recoupable.”
“They have generously agreed to this, at what they believe will be much better terms than paid out previously by other major labels. I see this as a sign that we are headed towards positive change for creators – a goal I’m never going to stop trying to help to achieve, in whatever ways I can. I’m so happy to have Sir Lucian Grainge as a partner in these efforts.”
Swift ensured that artists on Universal Music Group (including herself) would be covered. Swift has been an advocate for fair pay to artists. She went on a big PR campaign shaming Apple for not paying artists royalties for music streamed during Apple Music's free trial period for customers, eventually getting Apple to relent and promise to pay a royalty for any music streamed on its service.