Taylor Swift experienced her “worst case scenario” last month when Big Machine Records, the label that launched Swift’s career and released her first six albums, was sold to manager Scooter Braun. In a statement released on her Tumblr page following the news, Swift accused Braun of “incessant, manipulative bullying,” lamenting the news that someone she felt had continually wronged her would now benefit from the earnings of her life’s work.
It looks like Swift isn’t done fighting for her music and is taking Kelly Clarkson’s advice to re-record her masters in order to gain control of her catalogue back from Braun. In a preview of Swift’s upcoming interview with CBS Sunday Morning, which is set to air this weekend, the singer tells host Tracy Smith she plans on re-recording her masters. “That’s a plan?” asks Smith. “Yeah, absolutely,” Swift said.
But walking into a studio to lay down new vocals for her first six albums may not be that easy. According to Page Six, Swift likely won’t be able to re-record her masters because of stipulations set forth in her contract with Big Machine Records. According to a music industry expert who spoke to Page Six, Swift “…can’t re-record because she’s not contractually allowed to do so. The only thing she could be allowed to do is…re-do the lyrics, but contractually she can’t. Even if she could, no one would want old songs with new lyrics.”
The expert pointed out that safeguards were put in place by most record labels following Prince’s decision to re-record his music in order to gain control of his masters after becoming The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. Like most artists, Swift doesn’t own her master recordings, which currently are under the control of Braun.
Another source told Page Six that Swift still refuses to engage with Braun following the controversial deal which saw Swift have a public falling out with her former mentor and Big Machine Label founder Scott Borchetta. Braun and Swift’s ensuing feud has caused a divide in the music industry, with Braun’s other clients and Swift’s friends declaring their allegiances on social media.
But it looks like she’s shaking it and had a busy week promoting Lover, which is set to be released on August 23 and already sold over 1 million copies in pre-order. On Tuesday, the singer unveiled her new merch collaboration with designer Stella McCartney and Swift took the stage in Central Park on Thursday to perform in front of thousands of Swifties on Good Morning America, where she touched on how special the forthcoming album will be for a number of reasons but especially because, “It’s the the first one that I will own, of my work,” she told host Robin Roberts to huge applause.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 22, 2019
The pop star also announced she’ll opening the MTV VMAs on Monday night, where she is up for an incredible 10 awards and will be performing for there for the first time in four years. But the grey cloud that’s been hanging over Swift’s brightly coloured Lover era has been the new deal with Big Machine Records and Braun. Now fans can only wait and see whether Swift really can find a way to regain control of her older work.