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Taylor Swift signs publishing deal with Universal

By | Published on Friday 7 February 2020

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has signed a new publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing, bringing her songwriting catalogue under the same roof as her post-2018 recordings. Which is very convenient for everyone. Shame the pre-2018 hits are still stuck in the Big Machine and are in the control of that Scooter Braun fella. Bastard!

Swift’s new publishing deal sees her leave Sony/ATV, to which she had been signed since she was fourteen. It also sees her reunited with a former exec of the Sony-owned company, Troy Tomlinson, who became CEO of UMPG Nashville in July last year.

Ignoring poor Troy and bigging up his bosses instead, Swift says in a statement: “I’m proud to extend my partnership with Lucian Grainge and the Universal Music family by signing with UMPG, and for the opportunity to work with Jody Gerson, the first woman to run a major music publishing company. Jody is an advocate for women’s empowerment and one of the most-respected and accomplished industry leaders”.

But don’t worry. She doesn’t forget to namecheck old Troy entirely. “Troy Tomlinson has been an amazing part of my team for over half my life and a passionate torchbearer for songwriters”, she adds. “It’s an honour to get to work with such an incredible team, especially when it comes to my favourite thing in the world: songwriting”.

Woah! Songwriting? I thought Swift’s favourite thing in the world was gambling on mahjong games. Oh well, I guess it’s true what they say: you really do learn something new every day. Anyway, she just gushed about some people, so we should probably let them gush back.

“We are honoured to welcome Taylor Swift to UMPG”, says Gerson, the boss of the mega-major’s songs business. “Using her power and voice to create a better world, Taylor’s honest and brave songwriting continues to be an inspiration to countless fans. We look forward to further amplifying Taylor’s voice and songs across the globe”.

Tomlinson adds: “I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Taylor since she was fourteen years old, and she still amazes me daily. The true definition of a multigenerational artist and songwriter, Taylor’s songs, vision and unwavering determination have always been an inspiration. I am so happy and so proud to continue representing Taylor and her music, and I am confident that UMPG will be the best, most creative partner in providing unparalleled opportunities for her songs”.

Swift, of course, signed a new record deal with Universal’s Republic Records in 2018, with her first album for the label, ‘Lover’, following last August. The agreement saw her depart indie record company Big Machine, which was originally set up in order to sign her. The split was not entirely amicable, of course – particularly after the label was bought by the aforementioned Braun. She still plans to re-record her Big Machine era hits to spite Braun et al.

It remains to be seen if she now has any Sony/ATV grievances to air, although the nature of modern publishing deals in the US means that’s less likely. Also, she’d basically be dissing Tomlinson, who is both her former and current publishing ally.