26-09-2019 / BY MUSICDIGI / TIPS

What Does It Mean To Own Your Masters? Guide For Musicians

Being a recording artist is pretty much one of the most exciting and incredible career paths a person can take. Touring the world, listening to your song on the radio, and enjoy millions of dollars in royalties while enjoying a life of luxury sounds like a blast, right? Well, it can be, but it depends on how well you protect and preserve your intellectual property in order to maximize your success in the long run.

The problem is, the music industry is run by executives, not musicians. And this generally means that the way of doing things tends to benefit record labels and not the artists. The industry is beginning to change for the better after the longest time, and this is a positive thing. One of the biggest things that has changed in the music industry is that artists are starting to take back greater control of their music.

Owning your own master recordings means everything, and here’s why:

You Keep Creative Control

One of the biggest factors for recording artists these days is that they want to keep creative control. This is understandable; once you lose creative control, you become a puppet that your label can exploit. Artistic integrity is so important in the world of music, and this is why you have to make sure you do what you can to keep creative control. Taylor Swift has recently demanded her masters from her former label for this very reason. Creative control matters if you are to grow and evolve as an artist.

Protect Yourself as an Asset

As a recording artist, you are also an asset. You make money for the record label, and also for yourself, and you need to protect yourself as an asset. If you leave one label for another when your contract expires, you don’t want to be exploited by your former label. You need to be sure you do as much as possible to improve the way you protect yourself as an artist and protect your music. There are a lot of things you can do that will help you to achieve this, but it’s clear that owning your own masters and taking control of your music distribution is one of the most important.

Earn What You’re Entitled

To At the end of the day, as a professional musician, you make money from your master recordings by way of royalties. And it is important that you earn the money you are entitled to for the creative work you have put in. This is something that drives many artists such as Jay-Z to seek their original master recordings. That way they can earn a larger slice of the pie and make the money that they deserve.

Recommended: The Indie Musician's Guide to Digital Distribution.


These are just a few of the key reasons why it is important to make sure you own your own master recordings as much as possible. There are a lot of things that play a role in this, and you need to do what you can to make the most of this moving forward. Think about the best way of looking after yourself and your intellectual property, and do what you can to take care of this.

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