Rise in record label mistreatment leads to unfairness among artists

Valery Barrera and Sara Marquez

Wikimedia Commons
American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is one of the many artists who have faced mistreatment over the rights to her own music in her record label.

Hit after hit, it’s the artists that make this music who end up taking punches.

It’s no surprise that artists and their record labels have their disagreements over the music being produced. Recently, artists have spoken out about the behind-the-scenes treatment the management holds against them. Pop singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is one of the many who have unfairly lost the rights to their own music.

In a highly-anticipated music video that was released on Feb. 27, “The Man,” which Swift produced, directed and starred in, she gave clear examples of how men can get away with poor behavior while a woman would be highly criticized for doing so. This depiction comes from the feud between Swift and record executive Scooter Braun, who is responsible for stealing the ownership of her albums.

“The message being sent to me is very clear,” Swift said according to an article by Entertainment Weekly. “Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.”

Just as Swift has faced this setback in her career, singer-songwriter Kesha has come to contact with a similar issue. Kesha’s story was introduced in 2014, where she filed a lawsuit uncovering the mistreatment she faced while working with producer Lukasz Gottwald, better known as Dr. Luke. The verdict did not give Kesha the right to leave the label and therefore caused her to continue being chained to the industry.

“I feel very strongly that sharing what is happening to me could change the awareness level for other artists and potentially help them avoid a similar fate,” Swift said.

This has been a long-going issue for years in the music industry, the late performer and musical icon Prince also battled to hold his own music and representation. He was constantly in a back-and-forth relationship with his company, Warner Bros., all he hoped was to express himself artistically, just as any artist should but somehow got caught in the web of contracts.

“I don’t look at it as Us versus Them. I did. But you know ‘The Wizard of Oz?’ When they pull back the curtain and see what’s going on? That’s what’s happened,” Prince said in an interview with The Guardian.

Prince even took a stand by releasing his own music directly to fans rather than having it go through the label. Repeatedly disobeying contracts, he wanted ownership of his music and overall wanted his fans to experience his art. This set a path for other artists like Chance the Rapper and Radiohead to take control of their music by directly releasing to their fans.

Despite the obstacles these artists face, this road represents the fight for their voice in the music industry without a puppeteer pulling their strings. Their music is their voice and for that to be taken away from them isn’t fair.

“…I’m a musician. That’s what I do. And I also am music. Come to the show for that,” Prince said.