While artists Taylor Swift and Kanye West aren’t known for being friends, they both deal with the music industry’s sometimes-harsh realities. Swift previously spoke out about the legalities of not owning the master recordings of her old hits. As West tackles the subject himself, here’s why Swift’s fans (known as Swifties) believe it’s karmic retribution.
Taylor Swift and Kanye West have a lot of history
The story of Swift and West’s feud dates back more than a decade. After he took the mic from her at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, they appeared to mend fences. Then West’s 2016 song (and music video for) “Famous” to start it all back up, only with even more vitriol. The shots never really stopped after that leaked phone call.
Swift hit back with tracks like “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” while subsequent songs such as “I Forgot That You Existed” saw her working to put the incident behind her. West, on the other hand, used faith as his reason for the 2009 event, saying on Cannon’s Class, “If God ain’t want me to run on stage… he wouldn’t have sat me in the front row.”
Swift fought Scooter Braun for her master recordings
Another well-publicized feud of Swift’s involves West’s former manager Scooter Braun. In June 2019, she wrote on Tumblr that her former label, Big Machine Records, had been sold to Braun, meaning that he owned the rights to the master recordings of all of her past music, including her first six albums.
“All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years,” Swift wrote of the news, citing the leaked call and the “Famous” video as examples. “Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work,” she added. “Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.”
West has now publicized a similar fight
Swift opted not to continue the fight, but re-record her masters as soon as she is able. However, just one year later, West is faced with the same struggle. “The artist deserve to own our masters … artist are starving without tours … Ima go get our masters … for all artist … pray for me,” he wrote on Twitter on September 15, 2020.
“When you sign a music deal you sign away your rights,” West wrote in another tweet, explaining the dilemma to his fans. “Without the masters you can’t do anything with your own music. Someone else controls where it’s played and when it’s played. Artists have nothing [except] the fame, touring and merch.”
How Swifties reacted to his tweets about his masters
For Swifties, it’s hard not to connect West’s fight to Swift’s. Especially when he dropped her name. He shared a conversation in which the person he’s texting with wrote, “Re masters ownership we can look into buying. But if Taylor’s cost $300 million yours would cost a lot more I assume.”
“You know what kanye? KARMA IS REAL,” wrote one Twitter user in response. Notably, this links back around to Swift’s 2017 song “Look What You Made Me Do” where she sings (ostensibly to West and others who have hurt her), “The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama/But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma.”
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