Taylor Swift, “Taylor’s Version”


Olivia Sullivan, Staff Writer

Taylor Swift has become perhaps the most influential and famous artist of our time. From her country debut Taylor Swift from 2006 to her newest project Red (TV), she has continued to dominate the charts and sell-out tours worldwide. However, with all of this fame comes challenges and controversies.  When Taylor was only 15 years old, she signed onto Scott Borchetta´s Big Machine Record Group, a contract that would last 13 years, coincidentally Taylor´s lucky number. With Big Machine, she continued to make six hit albums with the recording company. Her final album with Big Machine, Reputation, was an instant best-seller and marked the end of an era, and allowed Swift to reclaim her voice, introduce her fans to new genres of music, and show just how incredible of a songwriter she is.

Before focusing on the new concept of “Taylor’s Version,” we first need to understand what exactly happened between Swift, Borchetta, and Scooter Braun. Swift’s contract expired in November 2019, and she soon signed onto Republic Records and Universal Music Group. She was able to gain ownership for all of her future projects, however, her original six albums would remain under the possession of BMLG. Swift wrote a message to Borchetta and her fans, which included the details of her new deal, and also included that now all artists signed under Universal Music Group would receive equity with any sale of the company’s stocks in Spotify. Swift was grateful for Borchetta and BMLG and included a “thank you” in her message for everything they had done for her. However, this sincere “thank you” would change into a full-blown music war in only a few hours. Scott Borchetta decided to sell BMLG to Scooter Braun. Taylor has never been fond of Braun, especially since he has signed on clients such as Justin Bieber and Kanye West. Almost everyone knows what happened in 2009 between Swift and West, but if you are not aware, in 2009, it was the annual VMA awards. Swift had won the coveted “Best Female Video” award for her iconic song, “You Belong With Me.” During her speech, a drunk Kanye West walked onto the stage and stole the microphone, and told the crowd and Taylor that Beyonce had “one of the best videos of all time” with her song “Single Ladies.” Standing there silently, Swift had to remain patient as she was being embarrassed in front of millions of people, in person and on national television. The crowd began to boo Kanye. He eventually left the stage and handed the microphone back to Swift, and she continued to stand there, as the crowd also continued to boo. At the time, Taylor was about 19 years old and must have been so confused about this whole situation.

After Borchetta sold BMLG, Swift went onto her Tumblr page to share her disgust. An official clip from the message follows: “For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead I was allowed to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums.” Swift also mentioned her feud with Kanye West’s ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, who leaked an edited version of a phone call between West and Swift. Braun and two of his clients, Bieber and West, then began to bully Swift about it.  She was outraged that all of her hard work, songwriting, and time put into these albums was now given to a person who had continued to do terrible things to her, and how she was not allowed to buy her masters. At the end of her Tumblr message, Swift lets fans know that she is signed with a company that respects her art and her ownership of it, and also reminds everyone of her new album, Lover, which was the first album she made without BLMG.

Now, two years after this incident, Swift has continued to create hit album after hit album, releasing the peppy, bright Lover, the two “sister albums,” folklore and evermore, and the two rereleases of Red and Fearless. In another message to fans last year, she announced that throughout a few years, each of the six stolen albums would be rerecorded, with additional “vault songs.” She called it Taylor’s Version. And in April of 2020, Fearless (TV) was released and met with acclaim. A few months later, on Scooter Braun’s birthday in June, she announced Red (TV), which would be released on November 19, 2021. The album was released a few weeks ago and has become a fan favorite. Swift created multiple lines of merch, sold thousands of hand-signed albums, new music videos, and even a ten-minute version of the famous song, “All Too Well.” With this song, she created a short film starring herself, Sadie Sink, and Dylan O’Brien. In two hours, Swift perfectly describes the feeling of heartbreak, reminiscing, and moving on. Her fans, called “Swifties,” continue to search for “easter eggs” that may hint towards her next rerecording. 

Taylor Swift has taken a series of horrible events and turned them into success after success. She claims that she is not re-recording her old albums for profit but instead to have the chance to own her art once again, something that every artist should have the right to.