Musicians are quite familiar with intellectual property–specifically, copyrights. Without it, they would struggle making a career from their music abilities. Copyrights protect their music (lyrics and audio recordings) so that others cannot steal or imitate it. This protection allows artists the ability to make money whenever their songs are played. However, the advent and popularity of streaming media makes it difficult for artists to control how and when people listen to music. Today, people have easy access to music, making it effortless to obtain it without paying for it.
While musicians rely heavily on copyright protection, the most successful musicians find many other ways to make money. Concert tours, endorsements, merchandise sales, and many other avenues contribute to a musician’s monetary success. Taylor Swift is just one of the musicians who has found various avenues to enhance her worth. One of the most creative ways she has managed to gain monetary growth is via her intellectual property savviness.
While copyrights are often a natural and given part of a musician’s success, Swift frequently utilizes trademarks to her advantage. Not only has she trademarked her name, but she has trademarked album titles (e.g., Reputation), phrases from her song lyrics (e.g., “This Sick Beat“), contest terms (e.g., SwiftStakes), and even the name of her pets (e.g., Meredith & Olivia Swift). Most recently, she became the proud owner of a third cat named Benjamin Button and has made the move to trademark “Meredith, Olivia & Benjamin Swift.”
Already estimated at a net worth of more than $320 million, Swift’s business tactics and concentration on intellectual property continues to garner new avenues for increasing her value. While her pets have nothing to do with her musical talent, her popularity gives her the ability to capitalize on many areas of her life.
Although unconventional in her moves to trademark song lyrics, pet names, and contest terms, they are smart business moves. Her trademarks will give her more net worth, but more importantly, they give her more control over her brand. That alone gives her great power. Who knows–she may even become one of the music industry’s biggest trendsetters in the trademark arena.