R&B singer K. Michelle has announced that she now has ownership of her music masters. The southern performer took to her social media to share with her 8.3 million followers the good news.
Right after Thanksgiving, she captioned a post saying, “I’m baking sweet potatoe pies tonight, but first let me play in this camera with my new hair color and celebrate my INDEPENDENCE day! I officially own MYSELF and all my upcoming music rights. I can now put out music anytime and place I want and OWN it! I look good and feel good asf.”
This is an exciting time for the singer and will be the first time that she will be able to make the lion’s share of money off of her gifts.
During a sit-down interview with The Shade Room, she confessed that she “never owned anything.”
“I’ve never got no money from none of my gifts,” she continued.
What Are Masters?
According to Gem Tracks, “A ‘master recording’ is a term used to refer to the original sound recording copyright of the song. When an artist records a track, they are also creating an original sound recording that is protected under the United States copyright term.”
The “V.S.O.P.” singer now joins an elite group of artists that own the rights to their songs, securing their masters from a separate recording entity (label, producer, management, etc.) who may have previously owned them.
Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Tory Lanez, Yo Gotti, and 2 Chainz are some artists who own their masters.
Artists like 21 Savage and Chance the Rapper came into the game with full ownership of their music and have helped other artists obtain theirs. The Chicago rapper has helped Anita Baker secure her masters after her 35-year clause expired.
She tweeted, after he helped her organize her fans to press her early label to give her masters back, writing, “All My Children Are Coming Home Catalog Impossible Things Happen… Every. Single. Day. Gratefully.”
Take That, Take That
Hip-hop music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs recently reassigned the publishing rights (the masters rights) to some artists on his Bad Boy label. The exact terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Artists like Ma$e, Faith Evans, The Lox, 112, and the Notorious B.I.G. estate will benefit from now owning their music.
Getting Masters Can Be A Challenging Journey
This was not without years of strife between him and some of his biggest artists, like rapper Ma$e.
The “Tell Me What You Want” rapper said in a now-deleted post, “Your past business practices knowingly has continued purposely starved your artist and been extremely unfair to the very same artist that helped u obtain that Icon Award on the iconic Badboy label. For example, u still got my publishing from 24 years ago in which u gave me $20k. Which makes me never want to work w/ u as any artist wouldn’t … This is not Black excellence at all.”
Some artists, like Ma$e in the above post, are still fighting for the rights to their lucrative masters, like Taylor Swift. Swift, is currently in dispute with manager and music executive Scooter Braun for her masters which include some of her earliest and biggest songs, after he purchased them from her old label, Big Machine Records, according to Vox.
With ownership, K. Michelle will receive profits from album sales, streaming revenue, and even TV and movie usage of the songs and will be able to license them to other interested parties.
The singer is now giddy with joy for her new acquisition, saying, “Celebrate every win in your life.”