Don McLean thinks Taylor Swift should have hired a better lawyer
The 31-year-old singer decided to re-record her early albums after Scooter Braun purchased her former record label, Big Machine Label Group, for $300 million, and with it acquired the rights to her back catalogue before selling them on to Shamrock Holdings, and the 'American Pie' hitmaker highlighted the fact her situation shows the importance of "ironclad" paper work and knowledgeable legal representation
28 October 2021
Asked his advice to new artists, Don said: "Get a good lawyer you can trust who knows contracts. I have a great one – I’ve used him for 40 years and my contracts are ironclad. That keeps me out of trouble.
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"If Taylor Swift had always had the right representation, she would have been told that she didn’t actually own her own master tapes and she wouldn’t have had to go through re-recording her back catalogue in order to regain control of her original material."
The 76-year-old singer believes one of his smartest business decisions was trademarking various phrases that feature in the lyrics to his two biggest hits, 'American Pie' and 'Vincent'.
He told Telegraph Money: "I made two very good business decisions. The first is that I trademarked a number of phrases in 1986; 'Amer¬ican Pie', 'Don McLean', 'The Day The Music Died', 'Bye, Bye Miss American Pie', and 'Starry, Starry Night'.
"I own those five trademarks.
"The other good decision was to fight with Alan W Livingston, from the MediaArts label, over my music publishing and win control and ownership over all the songs I’ve ever written. That happened in about 1989."
Don has already struck a deal to auction off many of his possessions before he dies.
He explained: "I’ve signed with Julien’s Auctions, who are going to handle it. There’s going to be a big glossy catalogue featuring all the things that I’m selling. Items include song lyrics, guitars and custom-made boots.
"The proceeds will go to the Don McLean Foundation, the charity I set up which provides funds to send poor students to college and contributes to homeless shelters and food banks in the state of Maine."