Reclaiming music (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift posing for the cover of "Red (Taylor's Version)". Photo by Beth Garrabrant

Starting from the roots of country twang, Taylor Swift has become a household name within a few years. With her distinctive voice, personal lyrics, and captivating melodies, Swift has conquered the hearts of millions worldwide. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has journeyed to reclaim ownership of her first six albums. 

Swift’s move to re-record her albums to obtain ownership may seem like a business deal. However, it is also about reclaiming her artistic autonomy to maintain control over her legacy. 

Swift was signed to Big Machine Label Group in 2005 at just 15 years old. Over 10 years later, in 2018, Swift departed from the label and announced in 2019 she would be re-recording her first six studio albums. 

After leaving the label, Big Machine was bought out by Scooter Braun’s company, Ithaca Holdings. Braun has been many other celebrities’ managers, such as Ariana Grande, and Swift has had a longstanding feud with Braun. 

Swift saw this business exchange as a betrayal of her trust. Singlehandedly, she highlighted the issue of artists losing control over their creative works, sparking an extensive debate on the need to reform music industry practices. Swift spent 10 years of her life tied to a label just to never have complete ownership of her art. 

Swift began re-recording her albums. She started with “Fearless” and titled it “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).” Taylor’s Version instantly struck a chord with her fans. It illustrated that despite the fact most of the songs were the same as before, she is reclaiming the music as her own with her more mature voice. 

“Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” was a success that showcased her commitment to regaining the artistic autonomy she once had growing up. This marked the journey of Swift reclaiming her narrative one track at a time. 

Swift encourages fans to embrace the re-recordings as the definitive versions of her timeless classics, creating a newfound bond with them. At the same time, she sends a message to let artists have control of their art. 

By re-recording her albums, Swift can ensure that her creative contributions will remain untainted by ownership battles and be passed down to future fans with a sense of authenticity. Swift sets an example for other artists by highlighting the significance of acknowledging the art’s actual author. She also ensures that her artistic vision will remain clear over time and not overshadowed by label affiliations. 

Swift’s reclamation of her discography is not an isolated act. It represents artists and creators worldwide. The media has been bombarded with stories of artists being taken advantage of and losing control. 

Swift showed that it is possible to flip the script, and artists can take back what is rightfully theirs. Her stance emboldens fellow musicians to challenge the status quo, assert their rights as creators, and change the music industry. 

Swift has finished re-recording half of the six studio albums that are anticipated. She will re-record them as she’s completing The Eras Tour. 

Anslee James is a junior double majoring in history & government and writing & communication. When she isn’t at the gym, she can be found playing with her dog, Lola, or listening to Taylor Swift. She hopes to eventually become an attorney and become a partner of a firm in the future.

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