Taylor’s Version Demands Justice in the Music Industry
By Kailyn Lunn, Entertainment Editor
After a multimillion-dollar battle, Taylor Swift has already begun re-recording her first six studio albums.
The American pop artist has been an industry staple since her debut album released in 2006. Swift was an immediate success. As of 2020, she sold over 40 million copies of her nine studio albums.
She released Fearless (Taylor’s Version) on April 9 and Red (Taylor’s Version) followed on Nov. 12. Lyrically, the re-recordings are loyal to the original versions, but her voice has grown since their first release.
Not only did she re-release fan favorites, but both Fearless and Red come with unreleased tracks “from the vault.”
But why is she re-recording her albums?
In June 2019, Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings LLC purchased Big Machine, Swift’s former label. The sale included the master recordings of her first 6 albums. Braun bought Big Machine in attempt to soon become a mogul, and because of the label’s active roster of country music stars.
Swift condemned the acquisition on social media when she said, “Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.”
Her animosity was personal, but she also called attention to the music industry’s ills, including the power imbalance between men and women.
Braun sold Swift’s masters for $450 million to the Los-Angeles based firm Shamrock Capital. Shamrock granted Swift the opportunity to buy her music, but she declined because Braun would profit from it, and she informed the company that she had already begun re-recording her masters.
This brings us to the present day.
Her emotional connection to her music motivated her, but there’s still a capitalist motive—she receives profits from streams, sales, and licensing. This devalues her masters and strikes Braun’s number one priority: money.
As mentioned before, Fearless and Red are available now, but the release dates of the four other albums are unknown.
Loyal fans of Swift know how much she enjoys hints, clues, and easter eggs. They speculate that either Speak Now or 1989 are coming next, but only Taylor Swift knows.
It’s important to listen to the re-recorded versions of her music, if they’re available, because they belong to Swift, and they give listeners the opportunity to experience old albums for the first time again.
Swift said, “So when something says in parentheses ‘Taylor’s Version’ next to it, that means I own it, which is exciting.”