Beyoncé Just Dropped "Renaissance" — Does She Own the Master Rights?

Leila Kozma - Author

Jul. 29 2022, Published 10:06 a.m. ET

Source: Getty Images

On Friday, July 29, 2022, Beyoncé dropped "Renaissance," her seventh studio album celebrating the history of dance music. In trademark fashion, the first installment of the three-part project features contributions from the biggest powerhouses in the industry. Comprising 16 songs, "Renaissance" doubles as a catalog of breezy summer anthems best listened to on repeat. But where do the profits go? Does Beyoncé own the masters?

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Does Beyoncé own her masters?

Masters remain a hotly-contested topic in the music industry, with some of the highest-grossing names having to launch complicated legal procedures to regain control over the master recordings. The master recording (or master) is the first iteration of the song that goes on to be sold via albums and played in clubs. Whoever owns the master rights decides on how the song will be used — and which licensing contracts will be made.

Source: Getty Images
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Beyoncé launched a management company, Parkwood Entertainment, in 2010. "Renaissance," "Lemonade," "The Lion King: The Gift," and "Beyoncé" were released by Parkwood Entertainment. (The album "Beyoncé" belongs to both Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records.) Because of the arrangement, Beyoncé owns the masters of at least some of the songs appearing on her albums.

What's more, Beyoncé signed a global deal with Sony Music Entertainment, the company that owns Columbia Records, in January 2020. The deal covers her entire song catalog, including the songs released with Destiny's Child. It's uncertain how much the deal was for.

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Kelis accused Beyoncé of sampling her song, "Get Along With You," without her consent. Does she own her masters?

Kelis has accused Beyoncé of using her song, "Get Along With You," on "Energy." Credited writers include Adam James Pigott, Allen Henry McGrier, Chad Hugo, Skrillex, and a group of others. Kelis says that "Get Along With You," a song on her 1999 album, "Kaleidoscope," was snuck into the song without her consent.

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Beyoncé fans immediately jumped on the opportunity to refute the allegation by claiming that Kelis doesn't own the masters.

There's no information available on whether Kelis owns the masters. "Kaleidoscope" was released by Virgin Records America Inc. "Kaleidoscope" was created in close collaboration with The Neptunes, aka Chad Hugo and Pharrell.

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Kelis has previously spoken out about the unfavorable conditions she was given back when they were working together on the album. The accusation appears to be the latest development of a historic conflict Kelis has with Chad and Pharrell.

Beyoncé has broken album sales records many times in her career.

Beyoncé was named the highest-earning musician of 2016 by Billboard. She made $62.1 million.

2016 marked a busy year for the star, who went on The Formation World Tour. With The Formation World Tour alone, she made somewhere between $54.7 million and $250 million. The rest of her earnings likely came from record sales, streaming revenues, publishing royalties, and other deals. Will she top her record in 2022? Keep your eyes peeled on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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