Taylor’s Version: The reason behind Taylor Swift's rerecording her master albums
2005 was the year pop icon and star Taylor Swift broke out into the world of music and the industry with her debut album Taylor Swift. Her single Tim McGraw made her stand out as one of the top country artists that year. Later, that album and single landed her a record deal with Big Machine Records. She followed that success with her sophomore album Fearless. Singles like Love Story and You Belong With Me further marked her success as a country artist and a rising star. The You Belong With Me music video won her an MTV award for best music video. Fearless then went on to win big at the Grammys, including Album of the Year, making her at that time the youngest artist in Grammy history to win that award. That record is now held by Billie Eilish.
Her following album Speak Now features her as the only writer credited. This was after criticism that followed Swift about her music. Then her albums Red and 1989 marked her move from country to pop, making her one of the few artists to ever make that change. 1989 went on to win Album of the Year at the Grammys, making her the only female artist to win twice. She now has won three times since 2020 with her album released during the pandemic, Folklore. She holds the record for most AMA awards than any other artist, 10 Grammys, and 10 CMAS. She is one of the most influential artists of our time.
It has been a very busy career for Swift with 9 albums, world tours, awards, etc, and in spite of a global pandemic, she has kept giving fans content and new music. Not only did she release two surprise albums Folklore and Evermore, and released a documentary with Disney Plus, “The long pond studios sessions,” but she has now released two re-recorded albums: Fearless and Red.
Now, you might be wondering why she has decided to release her old music. The reason for that lies within her contract with Big Machine Records and a secret sale behind her back. Her master recordings, the ones she’s re-recording, are her first six albums: Debut, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, and Reputation. Those six albums were sold by Big Machine Records to a private-equity group named Ithaca Holdings, an entity owned by music manager Scooter Braun. He then sold her masters to another company, Shamrock Holdings, in 2019, for a reported 30 million dollars. Since 2019, Swift has been campaigning for her to own the rights to the master recordings. She has made several interviews and statements stating her desire for female artists to start fighting for their own rights to own their music.
Swift could re-record her music due to her owning the rights to the lyrics. To make the albums more appealing to fans, she released vault songs: songs originally written at the time for the album but that never made it onto the final cut of the album. She's also making a few changes to the songs. For her album Red, she even released a short film of fan-favorite “All Too Well” starring Dylan O'Brien and Sadie Sink, as well as a video for the vault song “I bet you think about me” directed by Blake Lively. With each re-released album, Swift keeps surprising fans and making them even more exciting for listeners.
Fans have been very supportive of Swift in her endeavor to own her own music, showing an outpouring of support on social media. Everyone is eagerly awaiting the announcement of the next re-recording.
Photo Credit: Taylor Swift’s Instagram