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Michelle Shocked

| April 12, 2011 | 0 Comments

It’s one thing to negotiate a contract in which you achieve certain rights. But when you’re in a contract with someone who has so much more power and resources than you do to—I’d say in some cases finds loopholes—but who, in my case, blatantly disregarded the contract they had signed. Basically, it’s like we always said in street protests, “Rights are like muscles. You’ve got to exercise them.” And they had such a big muscle to exercise over me. It was my life, it was my career, and it was my work that they could hold hostage. All I had was a contract that said the rights belong to me.

I own my complete catalog, I own and control the masters—that includes strays like the original Campfire bootleg and Kind Hearted Woman, which was snatched from the jaws of defeat by BMG after I left Mercury. Some artists have gone back and bought the rights to their work, at not favorable terms. It’s like they bought a second mortgage on the house they own and already paid for. Mine was the deal from the beginning, and I had to stand by it. I think what they tried to do—and I was just too stupid to know—was say, “No, renegotiate. If you want a career, give us the rights and we won’t put you on ice.”

From Performing Songwriter Issue 74, Dec. 2003

Category: In Their Own Words

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