A major musical moment began this week, with Taylor Swift’s re-recording of her 2008 album Intrepid debuts. The snow Without fear (Taylor version) and his departure is promising.
The full album will be released in April, but the first single, Love story, has been downloaded more than 10,000 times since its Friday arc, according to MRC Data. Only three more songs sold this week.
The release is the first volley in an ongoing war between Swift, who wants to recover their master recordings from old material, and current rights holders, Shamrock Capital. They acquired the rights to Ithaca Holdings, owned by the artist’s manager and Swift’s nemesis, Scooter Braun.
Although the olive branches have been extended by the rights holders, Swift is determined to control the fate of her material.
Others have tried this trick by re-recording, including Def Leppard and Squeeze, all with mediocre success. And who can forget Prince’s unfortunate crystal ball in the late ’90s. The logistical nightmare of fulfilling physical copy direct mail orders in the low-bandwidth era sank this project, although Prince in claimed financial success.
But Swift is arguably the best pop star in the world. It’s heavy ammo in an experiment that can set a trail for itself and potentially for others.
“This process has been more fulfilling and emotional than I could have imagined and made me more and more determined to re-record all of my music,” said the singer, 31. a statement on social networks. She added that the deployment on the song “Love story” – now called “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” – her first Billboard Top 10 single would arrive just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Without fear (Taylor version) will be released on April 9 and feature 26 songs in total, including hits like You belong With Me and Fifteen, as well as six unreleased tracks written when Swift was a teenager.
Now the interesting ethical dilemmas emerge. Is the consumer buying the same music again? More importantly, if you are a TV or movie producer who wants to use Taylor Swift’s music, which version do you use?
What is interesting is the value lost by rights holders. If newer versions become the medium of choice for use, then what they hold loses major value. Swift has the contractual rights to control its publication, which is managed by Universal Music Publishing Group. As such, it can veto any use in TV, movies, commercials, video games, and all media.
Streaming services could be banned from using the original masters. TikTok, Peloton, and other outlets that don’t have a label license at the moment will have to cross this bridge.