Taylor Swift regains ownership of earlier albums


Photo used with permission by Cosmopolitan UK under CC BY 3.0

Taylor Swift performed at the 2019 American Music Awards where she won six awards.

Luke Barlow, Staff Writer

Nostalgic hit songs like “You Belong With Me,” “22” and “Bad Blood” will be reborn with different vocals. Since her debut in 2006, Taylor Swift has been one of the most mainstream pop artists and is currently rerecording and rereleasing the first six albums in her discography to make new master recordings. 

A master recording is the original recording of an album on which copies are made, but they are usually owned by labels, not the artists themselves, so by releasing her master recordings, she will directly own her music as opposed to a label owning them.

Swift initially wanted to buy the masters back from her old label, Big Machine Records, but thought the deal they proposed was not fair. According to Swift, her masters were being sold without her knowledge.

“Artists should own the masters of their music because they work hard to produce music,” freshman Diya Kohli said. “[They] are treated poorly in their industry so they should deserve some ownership in their work.”

In November 2018, Swift signed to Republic Records after leaving Big Machine. According to Forbes, the new contract stated that she would own all $200 million worth of the masters of the albums released, meaning that Swift’s albums released under Republic would directly profit Swift.

“I am a fan of Taylor’s old music,” freshman Bridget Dombro said. “However, because the new albums support her, I will be listening to them instead.”

Swift has been a vocal activist for artists’ rights throughout the years, from pulling her albums off Spotify in 2014 because of their low royalties to penning a public letter to Apple Music in 2015 asking them to pay artists during free trials. Swift speaks up for artists by buying back and if that is not possible, rerecording and rereleasing her music so she can decide who uses it and for what reason.

“It is important for [Swift] to call out poor behavior from companies,” Kohli said. “I think companies would get away with this type of behavior if artists would not call them out.”

Swift has been recording six albums’ worth of songs in the span of a few months, and she released an original album, “Evermore,” in the midst of rerecording. The first album to be released, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” will be out on April 9.

“I am extremely excited to listen to the new albums,” Dombro said. “I can’t wait to compare them to the old ones.”