By Jocie Dixon
At a whopping 15 years old, a young Taylor Swift signs a record deal with Scott Borchetta who was creating his own independent record company that would come to be known as Big Machine Record Company. Sadly young Taylor ended up signing a contract with them that would ultimately never give her full control over her music.
At Taylor’s age, she really just needed someone to launch her career and that is what Big machine did, however after so long in the industry Taylor no longer needed a hand to hold to get through the business side of things and overall needed to have more power over her own music. Most artists tend to renegotiate their contracts to achieve this and if the label refuses to negotiate, that’s when an artist should move on to a label that works better for them. In 2018 she ended up leaving Big Machine Records and went to Universal Music Group.
In June 2019, a man named Scooter Braun made a $300 million deal for Big Machine Records. This basically meant that Scooter had full ownership of the label’s client roster, distribution deals, and owned artist masters. This included all rights to Taylor’s first 6 albums which she had not been given any notice to. Taylor wrote in her claim, “This is my worst-case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept. And when that man says ‘Music has value’, he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it.”
In November of 2020, Scooter Braun sold Taylor’s masters without her knowledge to a company called Shamrock holdings for over $300 million. With a deeper look into Shamrock holdings terms, she found that Scooter would continue to profit from Taylor’s old music. From this point, she decided it was best to just rerecord her old music so that she could have full ownership over her art without big business executives being able to make a quick buck from her work.
This is where Taylor’s Version has come from. It’s her movement to take back her art, even if it’s not exactly what it once was. It’s important to recognize that listening to Taylor’s version of her re-released music is the best way to show support in artists being able to own their art. Not to mention all the improvements in the music itself. Her voice has come a long way and a lot of it just sounds more clear. Taylor made the re-releases extra special because she didn’t hold back anything. She has released songs that didn’t make the cut for the first album releases, the 10-minute version of All Too Well, and new music videos that we wouldn’t have originally had!
Be sure to look out for the rest of her re-releases as she continues to gain the rights to all of her own art!