Pharrell Williams says the way music industry treats creators is a ‘crime’

Pharrell Williams says the way music industry treats creators is a 'crime'
Pharrell Williams (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Pharrell Williams says it is a “crime” that artists don’t always have “the lion’s share” of their music.

The ownership of rights to masters has been thrust into the spotlight by Taylor Swift’s recent battle with Big Machine Records and Scooter Braun about her own tracks, and now the “Happy” hitmaker has called for creators to have more of a share of their music by default.


He said: “There’s no other industry out there in the world where a start-up gets off the ground and doesn’t own the trademark — it just doesn’t make sense. It may be legal, but it’s still a crime. If a bank walks away with ownership of a company and the trademark, how much should a creator really be participating? The artist should always have the lion’s share of their creation.”

And the 47-year-old singer and producer thinks Taylor Swift’s situation was “really unfortunate,” as he insists the system is “wired” to not “always be fair” for creators.


Asked specifically about Swift’s situation, he added to Variety magazine: “It was really unfortunate. I felt for her and not being able to be in control.

“There’s a system in place that’s just all wrong. He’s a businessman, and he also represents artists, so from his point of view he’s just making an acquisition of something that he felt would be a good investment. But the artist should have the opportunity [to retain ownership], and I don’t know whether she did or she didn’t. The system is wired in ways that is oftentimes not always fair to the creator. It should be the norm that the creators retain their rights.”

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