Shake off the Haters, Not Your Life’s Work- Why Taylor Swift’s Re-recorded Masters are Transformational

Taylor Swift’s Shake it off:

If you haven’t heard ‘Shake it off’ by Queen Taylor Swift, you might want to grab your closest device and listen to it and suit yourself under a rock, because you are one in hundreds of millions to be so. Whether you are a teenager, a young adult, or well into adulthood, there’s just one voice that will instantly make you nostalgic and scream your lungs out, and that’s Taylor Alison Swift, the Music Industry.

Whether that’s timeless classics like ‘You Belong With Me’, ‘Love Story’, ‘Blank Space’, and ‘Look What You Made Me do’, or heartbreak anthems like ‘All Too Well’, ‘Back to December’, ‘Clean’, ‘Teardrops on my Guitar’, Taylor has got us all covered. But an ugly truth that record moguls work hard to keep covered, is retaining the rights to the music of their artists, without an opportunity for them to own it. And that’s what Taylor felt, for years. 

Own Your Work, Don’t Steal Someone Else’s- How Taylor lost the rights to her Music

As an artist, having ownership of your creations is imperative beyond reproach. However, most musicians do not own the rights to their masters or original music. Taylor was signed to a record company when she was barely 15 years old. She did not have much knowledge regarding this field and signed it, not knowing the repercussions of it.

Scott Borchetta was the head of the record company that signed her, who went on to sell the rights to Taylor’s first 6 albums to Scooter Braun, a man who has been known to be a bully more often than not. After doing so, social media users caught the music mogul posting an image saying he ‘owns Taylor Swift’. All social media platforms erupted in rage, coming to the pop star’s defence.

After signing with a different record company, which guaranteed her the right to own her work, Taylor also spoke out right before her ‘Artist of the Decade’ performance at the AMA, when she was being denied the right to perform her old songs because she hadn’t been permitted to do so. 

Owning her Work, Owning the Narrative- How Taylor Re-recording her Masters is Changing the World

Shake off the Haters, Not Your Life’s Work- Why Taylor Swift’s Re-recorded Masters are Transformational
Image – WSJ

Taylor came out and surprised the world when she announced that she intended to re-record her first six albums, which she will have ownership over. These albums are re-released with ‘(Taylor’s Version)’ next to them, which means that she has ownership rights over this new round of music.

So far she has put out 2 re-recorded albums, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version), and to keep her fans on her toes, she’s releasing tracks that were not on the previous record. It gives fans an insight into the thematic exploration of the albums, and these fans have started a movement by discarding all the precious albums, knowing that streaming them would be lining Scooter Brain’s pocket.

This is revolutionary for the music industry, and now young artists are demanding the right to own their music before going down the same traumatic rabbit hole as Taylor did. Taylor changed the rules and is creating an equal industry for those who come after her, and that’s what cements her as a musical advocate for equality.

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