Ever since she was 15 years old writing song lyrics on napkins during high school, Taylor Swift has shown the world her immense talent and business skills. Owning her music is important to her, to any artist really. This desire to own her own art has brought her to where are today: the rerecordings of her old albums. But why is she rerecording?
Who is Taylor Swift?
Taylor Swift was born on December 13, 1989. At the age of 10, Swift began singing at local events. At 11 years old, she performed the “Star-Spangled Banner” at a Philadelphia 76ers game, and at 12, she began writing and learning guitar. Swift’s family moved to Nashville to help her pursue her musical career. After performing at the Bluebird Cafe, Swift was offered a contract with Scott Borcheta’s Big Machine Records. Her first single “Tim McGraw” was released in 2006 and the rest is history.
Why is Taylor Swift Rerecording?
In 2018, Swift’s contract with her label Big Machine expired. She then decided to switch to Universal Republic Records. However, according to their contract, while Swift might own the lyrics and sheet music, Big Machine owns the masters otherwise known as the recordings being sold on Apple Music, Spotify, or any other listening platform.
So, in essence, despite Swift owning her own words, she no longer gains profit from her own art. The drama does not stop there. After the termination of her contract with Big Machine, Scott Borcheta (Swift’s former manager) sold her masters for $300 million to Scooter Braun’s company, Ithaca Holdings. Why is this an issue? Scooter Braun, who manages Kanye West and Justin Bieber, has allegedly bullied Swift for years.
Swift’s contract has given her the right to re-record her six albums starting November 2020. Owning her own music is important to her, as she said in her interview for Billboard Woman of the Decade, “…the reason I’m rerecording my music next year is because I do want my music 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.”
Starting in April of 2021, Swift began the releases of her re-recorded albums. However, to encourage the sales of her new recordings, she has also promised to include songs that were originally meant to be on the album but had been cut.
On April 9, 2021, Swift released her album Fearless (Taylor’s Version) featuring her original songs as well as songs “from the vault”. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) broke country records by having the biggest first-week debut of any country album in the past six years. This album also became Swift’s ninth consecutive number one album. And as of April 19th, it was the top overall album release of 2021.
You would think after releasing two original albums in the span of six months as well as a re-recorded album, the artist might want to take a break. However, on June 18, 2021, Swift announced her plans to release her version of Red. In her announcement, Swift revealed that the new recording would feature 30 songs including a 10-minute version of the fan-favorite “All Too Well” which has taken its place as number one on Spotify’s top charts. This album was released on November 12th and has already broken plenty of records.
On its opening day, Red (Taylor’s Version) became the most streamed album in a day by a female with 90.8 million streams. This record was previously held by Swift with her album folklore. She also became the most-streamed artist on Spotify within a day. Swift also announced a short film for her song “All Too Well” which already has 29 million views.
In summary, Taylor Swift worked on her own to build her empire. Her own songwriting has broken record after record, explored many different genres, and led to the creation of over 100 songs. As Barbara Walters once said, “Taylor Swift is the music industry.” Red (Taylor’s Version) is available on all streaming platforms and make sure to keep an eye out for her upcoming recordings.