How justice is served in the music industry

Alyssa Smith, Social Media Manager

Taylor Swift has become one of the greatest female artists of our generation. She continues to break records with releases of albums. Her most recent release was “Red” which originally debuted in 2012; the only difference is this new release is Taylor’s version. 

Swift has begun to re-record and release her old albums; these releases feature all the original songs along with a few new ones she had written and never released. So far, she has released Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version). It is more than just giving her fans new content she had previously written. It gives her justice and ownership of her own songs. 

When Swift was just 15 years old, she signed to Big Machine records and Scott Borchetta. The contract allowed Big Machine to own the masters (original recordings) of her first six albums. After six album releases with the company, she gave a cordial farewell and announced she would be leaving the label for Republic records. 

Shortly after, Big Machine sold to Scooter Braun which included the ownership of Swift’s first six albums. Braun and Brosschetta claim they offered Swift a chance to buy her masters, but there is little proof of this statement’s authenticity.  

Swift found out about the sale the same time everyone else did and took to Tumblr to share her views on the matter. “Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to,” she posted. Swift had made her distaste towards Braun publicly known, sharing the ways he had manipulated and bullied her. 

The post continues to explain how her trust was betrayed and how she believes the art she made she should own. “Thankfully, I left my past in Scott’s hands and not my future…You deserve to own the art you make,” she said. All her albums moving forward would be owned by her. 

Senior Ashely Lindquist is an avid Taylor Swift fan. “I think that artists should always have a say in what happens with the music that they compose, sing, and make. Specifically in the case of Taylor she didn’t own the recordings of her music but they were with a company she wanted them to be with. It totally makes sense that she would be angry about them being sold to people she didn’t want to have them,” she said. The sale to Braun made many Swift fans upset and angry. 

Braun only owned the rights to her original recordings, and she would eventually be able to re-record and use her music for other projects but not as soon as she wanted to. Swift was told she would not be allowed to perform old songs at the American Music Awards or use her music for a documentary.  

She once again took to social media to communicate to her fans. “I just want to be able to perform my own music. That’s it. I’ve tried to work this out privately through my team but have not been able to resolve anything,” she explained in a passionate Tumblr post. 

There was a certain amount of time that had to pass before she could re-record under her contract; she could only do the re-recordings because of her role as songwriter in her first six albums. 

Swift also announced she planned to re-record her original works when she was allowed to do so.

As of November 2021, Swift has released re-records of “Fearless” and “Red” and is shattering records. “Red (Taylor’s version)” broke the record for the most streams in a day by a female artist. 

Swift released a short film to her song “All Too Well (ten minute version)” which left fans heartbroken and enthralled with this new side of Taylor as a director. 

She continues to find even more success under a new label where she owns her music. Once these re-recordings are released, fans begin to listen to Taylor’s Version for the newer content. As more people begin to listen to the new version the old albums receive less streams and therefore less profit for her old label and Braun. 

This sends an empowering message to her fans.  “I think the message she’s creating is really powerful. She’s showing all of her long-standing fans that the music they love is still important to her and everyone else and she’s showing that she will fight to keep what’s hers and fight against injustice, and she’s doing it well,” Lindquist said. 

Swift has become an advocate for young people in the music industry, warning about the dangers of signing deals and relinquishing the rights to their art. Her re-recordings not only give her justice but also keep her fans entertained and excited for whatever she does next.