Taylor Swift Takes Back Her Music

Story by Peyton Tranas / Contributing Writer

“You deserve to own the art you make.”

taylor swift

Early on Thursday morning, Taylor Swift made a huge announcement on Good Morning America: she’s releasing a new album– kind of.

In a post made by Swift on Thursday morning following the “Good Morning America” announcement, Swift confirmed that “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” would be released “soon.” 

In a tactic that Swift once used in the early days of her career, the post had a message in it that had to be decoded by fans, the code seemingly confirmed that the album would be released on April 9.

In an interview with “CBS Sunday Morning” back in August 2019, Swift announced that she will be re-recording her first six albums: “Taylor Swift,” “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989,” and “reputation.” 

While she is legally unable to re-record “reputation” until 2022, her first four albums became available to re-record and release in Fall 2020. But what’s the reason behind it all?

In June 2019, Swift’s former manager, Scott Borchetta from Big Machine Records, sold Swift’s masters to Scooter Braun, the manager of artists such as Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and Demi Lovato. Swift was very unhappy with the sale, and was completely unaware of who the purchaser would be until the knowledge was made known to the general public.

In the initial statement made by Swift, she explained why this situation hurt her so much. While Swift still owns publishing rights to her music since she is the writer or co-writer of all of her songs, she does not own the actual music. This means that Braun owns the catalog of her first six albums and profits off of sales and streams.

In a stance to take back her work, Swift decided to re-record her music and re-release it. She made the first action towards her regaining ownership on Friday by releasing “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)”. While the song is the same as the original 2008 recording, her voice has matured and she also is now the sole producer, writer, and performer of the song.

Swift is not the first artist to do something like this. The singer of the early-2000s hit song “Leave (Get Out),” JoJo, did a seemingly identical move. JoJo was also dealing with issues with her previous label, Blackground Records, with the label removing her albums from all streaming platforms and iTunes. In a move to regain ownership, much like Swift, JoJo re-recorded and re-released her first two albums in 2018.

So what does this mean for music executives, like Braun, who pay millions to gain ownership of an artist’s catalog as a quick cash-grab?

Having someone as popular and famous as Swift execute a move like this will bring hope and resolution to smaller artists that may be in a similar situation.

With the release of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” we have seemingly entered the Taylor Swift era of re-recordings. While this is only the first release, fans should expect to hear the other albums, with the exception of “reputation,” by the end of the year.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ashley Barrientos, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

For more updates, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Life

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