You may have seen the term ‘Taylor’s Version’ while browsing Youtube or Spotify. But what is Taylor’s version exactly? I share all below.
What Does Taylor's Version Mean?
After a contentious copyright dispute with her former music manager, Scooter Braun, Taylor Swift decided to embark on an endeavor known as Taylor's Version. By re-recording her original albums, for which she no longer possesses the rights, Swift aims to regain control and ownership of her musical legacy.
During an interview, Taylor Swift disclosed her stance on requests to use her old music in films or advertisements. She explained that she consistently rejects such requests because she aspires to obtain ownership of her music before granting permission for its use in movies or commercials.
Swift stated that her team receives weekly synchronization requests to feature ‘Shake It Off' in advertisements or ‘Blank Space' in movie trailers, and they decline each of them.
The reason she's re-recording her music is because she wants it to have a lasting presence. She wants it to be included in movies, and she wants it to be part of commercials. However, she only desires this if she has complete ownership of it.
How Did Taylor Swift Lose the Rights to Her Music?
Taylor Swift is making Taylor's Version as a strategic and empowering move to reclaim control over her artistry and regain ownership of her earlier catalog. The driving force behind Taylor's Version lies in a contentious dispute over copyrights with music executive Scooter Braun and his company, Ithaca Holdings.
In 2019, Scooter Braun's acquisition of Big Machine Label Group, which owned the rights to Swift's first six albums, sparked a highly publicized controversy. Swift publicly expressed her dismay and frustration over Braun gaining control of her master recordings, viewing it as a betrayal.
Braun's company asserts that they had offered to sell the master recordings to Swift, while Swift maintains that she had been attempting to purchase them for several years.
As a result, Swift maintains ownership of the songs and publishing royalties, while Braun retains the rights to the original recordings. This event catalyzed her decision to re-record her previous works and create Taylor's Version.
This move allows her to establish her autonomy and retain the rights to her reimagined renditions. It is a means to transcend the limitations imposed by the previous ownership structure.
Which Albums Are Getting Remade?
As of now, she has already released the following remade albums:
- “Fearless (Taylor's Version)” – Released in April 2021
- “Red (Taylor's Version)” – Released in November 2021
These two albums have been re-recorded and released, featuring updated versions of the original tracks. The remaining albums that are yet to be remade and re-released include:
- “Taylor Swift” (Her self-titled debut album)
- “Speak Now”
Fans can anticipate the release of these remade albums throughout 2023-2024. Remember that you're also getting never before heard tracks on some of these albums, as many of them never made the cut after Swift wrote the lyrics.
Will Taylor Swift Earn More Money From “Taylor's Version”?
Taylor Swift stands to benefit financially from re-recording her albums. By remaking her earlier works and releasing them as Taylor's Version, she gains ownership and control over the new recordings. That means she can generate revenue from the sales, streaming, and licensing of these re-recorded albums.
Typically, when artists re-record their music, they can negotiate new licensing and distribution deals, which may result in a more favorable financial arrangement. As the owner of the re-recorded versions, Taylor Swift has the ability to retain a larger share of the profits generated from the sales and streaming of her music.
Furthermore, by re-releasing her popular catalog, Swift can potentially attract loyal fans who wish to support her re-recordings and new listeners who may discover her music for the first time. This increased interest and attention can lead to greater financial rewards through album sales, streaming royalties, concert ticket sales, and merchandise revenue.
Does Taylor's Version Sound Different From the Originals Albums?
The re-recorded albums of Taylor's Version aim to maintain a similar sound to the originals, resulting in subtle differences.
Her voice has matured, grown deeper, and is slightly more autotuned in these recordings, accompanied by changes in the musicians involved. However, these variances are likely to be discerned primarily by other musicians.
Nevertheless, these new versions do offer notable highlights. For example, some tracks are extended and include never before heard lyrics from the songwriter.
Taylor expressed her intention to get as close as possible to the original renditions. She didn't want to disappoint her fans by altering the original sound quality too much, outside of her voice sounding somewhat different from when she was a teenager.
Most of the song's original structure has been preserved, and Swift understands that she can put her own spin on these albums without taking away what made the fans love these tracks in the first place.
In truth, it becomes pretty challenging to determine which version is superior, as both the old and the new iterations possess their own merits.
Controversy Over Artists Owning Their Music
The controversy surrounding artists owning their music and the issue of artist bullying has sparked widespread debates and shed light on the power dynamics within the music industry.
Swift's impassioned remarks about feeling bullied and her subsequent decision to re-record her albums have ignited a larger conversation about artists' rights and creative control, as well as making more money.
What Is Taylor's Version? Final Thoughts
What is Taylor's Version? It's Taylor Swift taking control of her musical legacy by recording her original albums again so she can have total rights to her songs. Many artists, like Swift, have experienced instances where others have acquired their music and intellectual property without their consent or control.
This situation often leaves artists feeling disempowered and frustrated, as their creative works are commodified and controlled by entities prioritizing profit over artistic integrity.