International pop star Taylor Swift released “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” nearly two years after being denied the right to own her music. A love letter to Swift fans, the re-recorded song serves as a thank-you to Swifties, and sends the message to young artists that they can survive the tumultuous twists and turns of the industry with grace and dignity.
Via her Instagram account, Swift announced that she had re-recorded her album “Fearless,” which she has named “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).”
“Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” is rumored to be released on April 9, which is spelled out in capital letters in a letter Swift posted on her Instagram account. The album will feature all the songs on the original record’s deluxe version, as well as six additional songs that Swift wrote between the ages of 16 and 18.
Swift released a lyric video for her hit song “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” at midnight Feb. 12. The song chronicles a version of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in which the star-crossed lovers are met with a happy ending instead of the original tragic one.
The lyric video of the re-recorded song features photos and videos of Swift and her fans from earlier in her career. “Taylor’s Version” demonstrates the love between an artist and their fans, as Swift ends the video “With love to all my fans” in a calligraphic, luminescent font.
In 2019, after Scooter Braun assumed ownership of her original masters through a multimillion-dollar acquisition, Swift announced that she was going to re-record her first six albums. Braun’s company Ithaca Holdings purchased Big Machine Label Group, which was the record label that put out Swift’s first six records: “Taylor Swift,” “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989” and “Reputation.” Swift stated that neither Braun nor Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta had given her a fair chance to purchase her own masters.
After news broke of the deal with Braun, Swift took to her Tumblr account and wrote a lengthy blog post calling out Braun and Borchetta. She wrote, “Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.” Swift ends the post with the remark that people deserve to own the art they create, signing off with the words “sad and grossed out.”
Other popular artists began to pick sides between Braun and Swift. Halsey penned a heartfelt note to Swift on Twitter, stating that she would be standing by Swift. Todrick Hall, a friend of Swift and fellow singer-songwriter, spoke on the matter and stated that he stopped working with Braun years ago, calling him “an evil person” whose “only concern is his wealth and feeding his disgusting ego.”
Justin Bieber, one of Braun’s clients, voiced his support of Braun. Braun’s business partner Allison Jamie Kaye reposted a post from Yael Braun, Scooter’s wife. She stated that Swift “passed” on the opportunity to buy her music, and denies accusations that Scooter is a “bully.” Borchetta wrote a blog post responding to Swift, stating that the deal was fair and that Swift had prior knowledge of the acquisition by Braun.
While accepting the Billboard Award for Woman of the Decade in 2019, Swift talked about the public drama that had occurred between herself, Braun and Borchetta. Swift commented, “The unregulated world of private equity [is] coming in and buying up our music as if it is real estate. As if it’s an app or a shoe line. This just happened to me without my approval, consultation, or consent.”
Later during the speech, Swift says, “Let me just say that the definition of the toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying ‘but he’s always been nice to me…’ when I raise valid concerns about artists and their rights to own their music.”
The battle between Swift and Braun/Borchetta is bigger than money; it is a reflection of the culture of the music industry that treats artists and their work as a product instead of treating artists as human beings and their work as a result of ingenuity. Thus, Swift’s re-recordings of her hit songs serve as a symbol of victory despite her lack of ownership of her masters.
Swift’s “Love Story” is designated as “(Taylor’s Version),” referring to her ownership of the song. After a long-winded battle for the right to her masters, Swift’s re-recorded music will be her own.
Despite the disorder of the music industry, Swift was able to release a heartfelt re-recording of her number one hit “Love Story.” The new version is just another example of Swift being a force to be reckoned with and that she will use her platform to raise issues about the business as well as release music that catalogs her experiences as a young woman.
“Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” is a song that honors Swift’s history in the music industry, as well as her history with her fans. Now, the song bears a new message — although the lyrics remain the same, Taylor’s new version is a love story with her fans.
Swift was 16 when she released her self-titled debut album and only a little older when she released what would become her breakthrough album, “Fearless.” In consideration of this, the lyric “We were both young when I first saw you” takes on a different meaning. Swift grew up with her fanbase, and after all her time in the industry, the song serves to remind fans that her love for them will never fade, no matter what circumstances occur.
“Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” is just the start of Swift’s re-recordings. Now, the future of her musical legacy is her own, and it is dedicated to her fans.