Anita Baker has asked fans not to buy or stream her music. In recent tweet post Anita Baker pointed out she'd outlived all of her recording contracts and that the right to her masters should legally revert to her.
The legal term is copyright reversion. The law allows musicians to retain their copyrights after 35 years. However, the law doesn't mean that that reversion is immediate or automatic. There are steps a musician must take to regain their copyrights under the law.
Anita Baker wants her fans to avoid her seven studio albums and one live album: The Songtress, Rapture, Giving You The Best That I Got, Compositions, Rhythm Of Love, and Night Of Rapture Live. These albums feature hits like "Sweet Love", "Talk To Me" , "Angel" and many more which were written by Anita Baker
Baker gave her fans a quick lesson in music business finance. She refered to the late artist Prince, who publicly fought his record label, Warner Bros., for the rights to his master recordings.
In most record deals, master recordings are not owned by the artists outright. Although artists make the music, artists are advanced money to record and promote their albums in the complex financing of the music industry. This advance is a loan they pay back through record sales. Additionally, royalties get paid long after artists are commercially viable. Artists try to negotiate their contracts to get the rights to these earnings before the copyright law is up.
Baker, like Prince, is one of many artists who has now spoken out about the unfairness of music contracts. The unfair practice is why so many artists have connected other branding opportunities from beauty brands to athletic wear to corporate endorsements and partnerships.