Taylor’s version: a story of industry ownership and creative growth

Last week Taylor Swift announced the first stage of her re-recording of her catalogue following the 2019 sale of her masters to Scooter Braun. In a highly anticipated post on social media, Swift revealed the re-recorded and aptly titled ‘Taylor’s version’ of her second album Fearless would be released April 9th, with the re-recorded lead single ‘Love Story’ released soon after.

For those not up to date on the latest public feuds of the music industry, let me break it down for you. In a rift between her former label Big Machine Records, Swift’s masters were sold onto famed manager of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, Scooter Braun, a man for whom there is little love between himself and Swift and who is an ally of Swift’s number one enemy (Kanye and the Kardashian clique, if you have been living under a rock).

Swift commented on this sale stating “This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept”, to which Scooter’s wife made remarks on her social media stating “How embarrassing this temper tantrum is because you didn’t get your own way.” This sale lost Swift the ownership of her lauded back catalogue of six albums that propelled her into the current position of music industry domination, which only emphasises the point further that if this can happen to Swift, it can happen to anyone.

The events of this ongoing legal battle and social media beef bled into the lyrics of the three albums rapidly produced by Swift since 2019, ‘Lover’ and the following lockdown albums ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’. In it she alludes to marital strife and the collusion of betrayal between the new owners of her work, then the drama took another turn as she announced her intentions to re-record these sold off albums to reclaim ownership and to diminish the worth of these lost original masters. And that pretty much brings us up to speed with the chronicles of the Taylor Swift vs Scooter Braun strife.

Taylor has announced that Fearless is the first of the ‘Taylor’s version’ albums to be released, adding six bonus tracks which were written for the original album but only ever heard by the most dedicated fans scouring Reddit and YouTube for shoddy recordings of these unreleased songs.

It feels fitting that the album that introduced most fans to Taylor Swift is the first of her repertoire she is revisiting, especially with the release of the first lead single being her first international hit, ‘Love Story’.

Just hearing this song alone and how closely she has managed to capture the magic of her 16 year old self’s romantic pining is a sure sign of what we can expect with the rest of the album. It is a transformative thrust back to the heady wild days of being 8 years old, CD playing in the car and gazing out of the window with slow tears falling over non-existent break ups and make ups you haven’t experienced.

Songs like ‘You Belong With Me’ and ‘Fifteen’ drew such a devoted fan base because they spoke a universal language of romantic pining and yearning that you could only dream about as a child, yet Taylor made you feel like you had lived it.

The growth of Taylor Swift as an artist and us as fans since the original release of Fearless is being brought into a new perspective, allowing us to take the time to reminisce on how we have changed but also how we are still those young fans at heart, clinging to love stories and tales of romance that Swift so consistently and generously shares with us.

Image: Taylor Hill via: Getty Images