Midnight of April 9 was when things changed for avid fans of Taylor Swift: Fearless (Taylor’s Version), one of six rerecordings, finally dropped. Needless to say, it was 2008 again for Swifties. Who would have thought that they could relive the nostalgia of shouting the lyrics of “That’s The Way I Love You” in their room and walk down memory lane with “Fifteen” 13 years later. But apart from the joy of celebrating her older material, it is a success for her and every other musician who has no power over their back catalog.
In August of 2019, Swift broke the news that she will be rerecording her first six albums. This announcement follows after her contract in her previous label, Big Machine Records, ended in fall 2018. She then inked the deal with Republic Records and Universal Music Group in November 2018. All eyes were on her after her monumental move to Universal and Republic. However, her decision to leave Big Machine came at the expense of leaving her older material to the label. Scott Borchetta, CEO of Big Machine, sold her masters, which has been estimated to cost around $300 million, to long-time nemesis Scott Borchetta. Now, Swift’s masters are owned by a private equity group after Braun sold it to Shamrock Capital.
The turn of events may have been chaotic, but one thing is for sure — Taylor Swift has her attention fixed on owning her music. “I’m very excited about it because I just think that artists deserve to own their work,” she said to Good Morning America. What was a financially motivated conquest at its core became a heartfelt journey of reminiscing the past for fans. The country-turned-pop star aims to replace her older material on streaming services and use it in movies and radio.
This was not the first that the legendary songwriter got the upper hand: from her withdrawal of her back catalog against streaming giant Spotify in 2014 to the revision of policies made by Apple Music after she sent a letter demanding the company to pay artists during the 3-month free trial offered to subscribers. Time and time again, Swift has proven that her experience in the industry for over fifteen years is critical in fighting for artist’s rights to their work.
As if she has not been productive enough, the 11-time Grammy winner is primed to release the rest of her flawless discography in the upcoming months. Fans will jam to the country-pop feels of her self-titled debut album and Speak Now. It also seems that the hype is not fizzling out surrounding the rerelease of All Too Well, RED’s total-heartbreaker and crowd-favorite. On the other hand, 1989, one of the most-awarded albums of music history, will also be enjoying the remake treatment, as well as her flashiest yet lovely body of art, reputation. Nevertheless, music critics expect her to monopolize the charts and solidify her standing as a music icon very soon.
After more than two years of losing her rights to her early albums, Taylor Swift is out to own the legacy she made for herself. This power play that she engineered serves as a reminder to everyone that she is no longer the country darling they once knew in 2008. Taylor Swift is more than a successful artist and a savvy businesswoman. She is fearless.
Stream Fearless (Taylor’s Version) on Spotify.