Image via Eva Rinaldi on Flickr
Taylor Swift’s rerecord of ‘Fearless’ is both an ode to her old music and a declaration of independence
Taylor Swift was barely an adult when she became the youngest artist ever to win “Album of the Year” at the 2008 Grammy awards. Now, 13 (!) years and 7 albums later, Swift has finally set the date for the rerelease of her second album “Fearless” – 9th April. It is expected that Taylor Swift’s Rerecording will change the industry for good.
Swift has already released the first two tracks from her rerecorded album: “Love Story” and “You All Over Me”. The former being an old favourite and the latter is from the “vault”. These will accompany the rest of the original Fearless album and 5 never been heard before songs.
Swift is hot off her Grammy win for Folklore this year. An album which consists of mellow ballads, alternative rock and romantic story telling. Swift intends to stay away from the upbeat pop elements of her previous albums with Fearless (Taylor’s Version) bringing the singer’s country roots back to life.
What is New About Fearless (Taylor’s Version)?
Listening to the new release of “Love Story”, to the majority of listeners, apart from the pang of nostalgia and a more mature voice, the difference is subtle. What’s more, the original is one of the best selling singles of all time, so what’s the need to rerelease?
When Swift switched record labels from Big Machine to Universal Republic, she lost the rights to any master recordings. This is typical for most recording contracts. Therefore, Swift was no longer entitled to the art that she had taken so long to curate.
What is the Dispute with Big Machine?
The dispute became public when Big Machine sold to a Ithaca Holdings, owned by manager Scooter Braun. Braun, then sold Swift’s original recordings to another company. This was a smart move on Braun’s part, meaning whenever Swift’s songs were bought or streamed, he would cash in. Swift however, would receive nothing. This was a hideous stab in the back.
Swift decided to fight to own her art and promised publicly to rerecord the original six albums. In March 2021, she wrote in an Instagram story: “Artists should own their own work for so many reasons, but the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really knows that body of work”
Swift’s Rerecording Will Change the Industry for Good
In Swift’s new contract, she has negotiated the ownership of all her music that she creates under the label. As well as this she includes the following clause: “any sale of UMG’s Spotify shares result in a distribution of money to their artists, non recoupable.”
Therefore, by proxy, Swift is advocating for the rights of artists, in particularly newbies to the industry. She says: ” “I’m one of the only people in the artist realm who can be loud about it … “People who are on their fifth, sixth or seventh album, we’re the only ones who can speak out, because new artists and producers and writers need to work.”
Swift is actively making the industry better in notable and irreversible ways. She understands that artists, even those as influential as her aren’t immune to exploitation. Whilst she has the power to do so, she will continue to fight to improve a flawed system.