Swift says her master tapes sold off for second time

    LOS ANGELES – Taylor Swift said on Monday that her master recordings had been sold off to a private equity company, denying her the chance to buy back the tapes herself and resume control over the rights to her first six albums.

    “This was the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge,” the 30-year-old singer wrote in a Twitter posting.

    Swift also said she had begun re-recording her early songs and that it had “proven to be exciting and fulfilling.”

    Swift’s comments followed a long-running feud with her former record company, Big Machine Group, and with music executive Scooter Braun over the rights to some of her biggest hits, including “Shake It Off” and “You Belong to Me.”

    Braun bought the Big Machine record label in 2019 after Swift left the label in 2018 for a new deal with Universal Music Group. Braun and the pop star have been involved in a bitter public dispute ever since.

    Swift, a 10-time Grammy winner, wrote on Monday that she received a letter a few weeks ago from private equity company Shamrock Holdings “letting us know that they had brought 100% of my music, videos and album art from Scooter Braun.”

    She added that under the terms of the sale, Braun “will continue to profit off my old music catalog for many years.”

    Braun did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hollywood trade outlet Variety reported on Monday that Braun had sold the master rights to Swift’s first six albums to an investment fund in a deal believed to be worth more than $300 million. – Reuters


    Universal, Cinemark agree on earlier home release for movies

    By Lisa Richwine

    LOS ANGELES – Movie theater operator Cinemark Holdings Inc struck a deal that will allow Universal Pictures to offer its movies in US homes as soon as 17 days after they debut in theaters, the companies said on Monday.

    The multi-year agreement is similar to one that Comcast-owned Universal made in July with AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, the world’s largest theater chain, embracing a major shift from traditional movie release patterns.

    Under the arrangement, Universal could offer movies for sale via premium video-on-demand after they have played for at least three weekends in theaters, a statement from the companies said. That would shrink the exclusive window a movie plays in theaters from the roughly 74 days that was typical before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down cinemas.

    Movies that open with more than $50 million at box offices would be exclusive to theaters for at least five weekends, or 31 days, before they could be offered on demand. That would likely include Universal’s big franchises such as “Fast & Furious” and “Jurassic World.”

    “That was a concept that was very important to us, the concept of having a dynamic window instead of a static, one-size-fits-all (approach),” Cinemark Chief Executive Mark Zoradi said in an interview.

    The company is in “active discussions” with other studios about similar terms, Zoradi added.

    In a statement, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Donna Langley said the studio was “more committed than ever” to the big screen. The deal with Cinemark will “provide consumers with the optionality that they are looking for,” she said.

    Universal is one of the few major studios sending movies to theaters in the coming months as many movie houses remain closed due to the pandemic. The studio will debut animated film “The Croods: A New Age” on Nov. 25, Tom Hanks drama “News of the World” on Dec. 25 and three other movies before year’s end.

    Theaters had long resisted moves to shorten the window of time they can show a movie exclusively, and threatened to refuse to show films if they were released too quickly on-demand. That changed in July, when AMC reached the deal with Universal to allow premium video-on-demand after three weekends. AMC will receive an undisclosed portion of the on-demand sales. – Reuters