While the world is a witness to Taylor’s success and rise in popularity, not many know about her struggle as a singer. Taylor’s Version of old albums is Swift’s fight to regain rights to her own music.
Fans have noticed a trend of Taylor remaking her old songs and releasing them as ‘Taylor’s Version,’ resulting in controversies for not producing new music. However, it is a necessary step for her to own her creations again.
As Taylor’s Version of Speak Now was released on July 7, the singer is halfway through her re-recoding project. So let’s take a better look at why the re-recording of old songs is so crucial to Swift as well as her fans.
Why Is Taylor Swift Re-recording Her Albums and Making Taylor’s Version?
Taylor Swift is re-recording her songs to own their master versions or original recordings. By doing so, she can have control over how the new versions of the song can get used. She can now grant permission for her songs to be used in advertisements, movies, and more.
In 2019, Swift revealed that her previous record label did not give her ownership of her masters. It was even trying to prevent her from performing a medley of her songs at award shows. Her older music could not be used in other media as well.
Swift claimed that she is re-recording her music because she wants them to live on. “I do want it to be in movies, I do want it to be in commercials. But I only want that if I own it.” Creating Taylor’s Version lets the singer follow through with her vision.
Yet, how can Taylor re-record the old songs without falling into legal trouble? It is because Taylor writes her own songs and has their publishing rights, which means she has the rights to the compositions rather than just the recordings. Thus she can cover her songs without the masters.
Furthermore, due to her publishing rights, she can deny any licensing of her songs for movies or commercials until they use her re-recorded versions.
Taylor signed a deal with Big Machine Records when she was 15, which gave the ownership of the masters to the record label. She was under the company from 2006 to 2017, releasing six albums that established Swift as a successful artist.
When Swift pleaded with the label to let her buy the Masters, Big Machine offered a deal where if she re-signed with the label, then she could earn one album back at a time, but in exchange for every new one she turned in.
Taylor Swift turned down the exploitative deal to sign with Republic Records, where she was given the right to all her new masters. However, her past masters were still trapped with Big Machine.
Taylor Swift’s old masters were previously owned by Scooter Braun, who bought Big Machine Record. However, the label sold the masters to a private equity firm, Shamrock Holdings, in 2020.
According to Swift, she tried negotiating for the rights but was urged to sign a nondisclosure agreement stating that she would only speak positively about Scooter Braun. Despite her willingness to work with Shamrock Holdings, she did not like that Braun would still profit from her catalog.
Taylor Swift currently owns all her albums except ‘Taylor Swift,’ ‘1989’ and ‘Reputation.’ Since she recorded ‘Lover,’ ‘Folklore,’ ‘Evermore,’ and ‘Midnights’ with Republic Records, so she doesn’t have to re-record them, and she has already released Taylor’s Version of ‘Fearless,’ ‘Red,’ and ‘Speak Now.’
While Taylor still doesn’t own the original masters of ‘Fearless,’ ‘Red,’ and ‘Speak Now,’ her new recordings fall under the Republic Records deal, so she owns the remade music and can regulate their use.
Her remade music has been appearing in commercials and shows and earning her the profits she deserves. Swift has also hyped the release of re-recorded songs to elevate their worth as opposed to the old masters.
The process will probably take a year or two to be completed until Taylor owns all of her music. As the singer is also releasing new music in between, the process will take some time, but the end is already in sight.
So what do you think will be the next Taylor’s Version? Tell us in the comments below.