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What Are Masters In Music? Best Things You Need To Know 2023

What Are Masters In Music All Of Things You Need To Know 2023
  • Max Kuehn

Want to learn more about what are masters in music? A master recording in the music industry is an official recording of a song, sound, or performance. Fidlar believes that every artist should have their master, and be able to grow their careers by selling the rights to their work. Continue reading to learn how to acquire master recordings and what it means to be signed to major labels.

What Does It Mean To Own Your Masters

A master recording is an official recording of a song or sound. It is also known as “masters” and it is the source of all subsequent copies.

There are many things that can confuse because artists may not write their songs, but they perform the song using their voice and music style.

The producer or composer who make a creative beat, and the songwriter who wrote the lyrics may owns the rights to the entire song. However, the rights to the recording would be owned by the artist who recorded their vocals onto the song.

The copyright to the composition or beat will usually be owned by the composer, along with any contributors. Copyright would be held by performers (YOU) for recordings of the composition.

This is what I’m trying to convey. Most rappers don’t really care about such things because they want to make great music, not care about the business side.

To be truthful, I wasn’t interested in this stuff for a long time…until I began writing songs for major artists. I was writing songs with platinum producers and songwriters who have written songs for stars.

Next, I needed to understand my rights in those rooms as well as what I should get when I added my skills so I didn’t get screwed or walk on.

You know what? I don’t like being walked on.

What Does It Mean To Own Your Masters

What Is The Process Involved?

It is usually as easy as this to make a recording:

The musicians record their music in a studio. The producer or the artists decide which takes are the best and compile each track.

  • Mixing engineers take the tracks and combine each instrument and vocal to create one song. The mixing engineer adjusts the volume and pitch of each instrument and vocal, often working with the artist to ensure the right sound.
  • The mastering engineer finishes the tracks and prepares the master for distribution to the public. Although the process is typically completed at this point, mastering engineers may take some time to ensure that the recording sounds perfect.
  • Musicians who think they can just release their songs without mastering them are mistaken. Artists are putting themselves at risk by doing this. Artists have millions of songs to contend with. It would be extremely detrimental to release songs without going through the mastering process. This ensures that the sound is flawless.

This is like a writer spending weeks or months crafting the perfect story only to have it released without an editor. This step is not something you should skip.

The Value Of Owning Your Masters

In 1985, Michael Jackson bought ATV Music’s 4,000 song catalog for $47.5 million. He also became the owner of approximately 250 Lennon McCartney music.

These are the main songwriters of The Beatles. He also received masters to songs of Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley, and The Rolling Stones in that deal.

The difference between $47 million in 1985 and today is approximately $222 Million. You can purchase the entire 4,000-song catalog.

Sony also bought out the Michael Jackson estate, which owned half of the Sony/ATVs catalog. They purchased his 50 percent ownership at $750 million. This made Sony the sole owner both of the Lennon/McCartney catalog and Sony/ATV’s 750 THOUSAND song collection.

Music business ladies and gentlemen

Realize that they wouldn’t buy the catalog back for three-quarters of a trillion dollars if they didn’t know they could make the same amount from the royalties they earn on the songs.

After all that, I must mention this to you for any occasion when you had to relinquish your masters and have no control.

After you have paid back their advance …., you can buy masters back from a record label at a set price. But unless you’re a star, you may never be able to pay back your advance. That could take …. a while, but I would love to do it now.

Let me actually show you this using a documentary 30 Seconds To Mars that you should watch. This video demonstrates how the record label structure works.

Crazy right.

However, if you are a star and make a lot of money for the label, and you have paid your advance, you will be able to buy your masters and catalog back at a price.

You can buy everything, right?

You now know that your masters should be yours. If you are ever offered a record deal, make sure you negotiate to keep your masters. If you’re a star, don’t spend any money to get your masters back. This is a huge mistake.

Why Is It Important To Own My Masters?

Artists have the legal right to own their master recordings. This allows them to maximize their money-making potential and freely use them. A master recording allows you to license it to other parties such as commercials, TV, and films.

You can also use the recording for sampling by other artists. Your master can be licensed out to anyone, including the record label, music producer, or sound engineer.

Diego Farias (CEO and co-founder at Amuse) says that many artists don’t realize that signing away their masters means selling their rights to their work. It doesn’t feel like a priority when you don’t have your breakthrough yet.

However, Taylor Swift and Kanye were both beginners at one time or another. Taylor felt that she couldn’t control the music used and where it was used. She also had to give up her ability to perform songs live.

Why Is It Important To Own My Masters

What Is The Difference Between Master And Publishing Rights?

Publishing rights are rights to a musical composition, words, or music. The sound recording is the master. One difference is that a single musical composition (like lyrics), can be featured in hundreds of sound recordings (covers and remixes, etc.).

Traditional Label Deals Vs Licensing Deals

Traditional Label Deals Vs Licensing Deals

A majority of major label deals require artists to give up their master rights for a specified time or the duration of the copyright. The artist cannot release music with any other label or distribution partner during the terms of the contract.

The label will also own any recordings the artist makes during the contract period. This can sometimes last forever. The artist receives an advance on future royalties in return.

An alternative to licensing is a deal, which we offer artists on our roster. This “lends” your music to a label for a short period of time rather than giving up all your rights for the rest of your copyright.

You regain complete ownership of your music after the license term ends. You retain control over your career and work by owning your master recordings.


What Does It Take To Get A Master’S Degree In Music?

The master license allows the holder of the license to use the recorded music in any media project, such as a movie, TV show, commercial, or other visual creation or audio project.

The master license is issued by the owner of the recording. This is usually the party that funded the recording.

Does Jay-Z Own His Masters?

Jay-Z has spoken out before about the importance of artists being their own masters. Jay-Z negotiated Jay-Z’s master recordings return in 2004 when he was elected president of Def Jam. Forbes reported in 2010 that Jay-Z’s master recordings were worth $50 million.

How Much Are Drake’S Masters Worth?

Is it shocking? Perhaps not. Drizzy may have predicted these unsavory moves in 2018 already. According to reports, Wayne sold his masters in June to Universal Music Group (UMG), as part of an agreement worth more than $100 million.


These days, there’s much talk about how important it is to own your masters. We mentioned all of them in this article. If you think we missed someone in this list, please add it in the comments below. Let us know if you learned something from them and what they’ve done for you in the past. We’d love to hear from you!

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