Why (Taylor’s Version) Exists

Tons of artists don’t own their music. For some, this may not seem like such an issue, considering many don’t write their own songs. But one particular artist, one who was cheated out of owning her original masters, is reclaiming her work.

Starting in 2005, when she was 15, Taylor Swift began releasing music with the label Big Machine Records. Big Machine Records owned her first six albums (Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, Reputation) until they sold them to another company called Ithaca Holdings in June of 2019. In turn, Ithaca Holdings, owned by Scooter Braun, then sold Swift’s albums to Shamrock Records in October 2020. After the transaction, however, Ithaca Holdings was still earning money on her albums. 

Swift is currently in the process of re-recording Taylor Swift through Reputation and has so far re-released 2008’s Fearless, which is called Fearless (Taylor’s Version), and 2012’s Red, which is called Red (Taylor’s Version).  The single Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version), which was off of Swift’s 2014 album 1989, was released September 17, 2021. Another single off 1989 titled This Love (Taylor’s Version) was released May 6, 2022. Both re-released versions of the albums possess another part of the title, (Taylor’s Version). Now, if you stream the version that says (Taylor’s Version), it will benefit Swift due to it being the version she owns. Streaming the stolen version or buying physical copies (excluding thrift stores) of it will ensure the money goes to her old record label. Swift is also including bonus tracks that were originally supposed to be included on the album but never were or weren’t allowed to. They are tagged as (From The Vault) tracks. Swift isn’t changing the songs as she re-records them, with the only exception being Girl At Home from Red. Girl At Home (Taylor’s Version), released in 2021, has completely different production. 

She references this situation in many of her songs. In the song, “It’s Time to Go” on Evermore (2020), the line, “he’s got my past frozen behind glass, but I’ve got me,” possibly alludes to the fact that her old label owns her past and previous records, but she is still herself and, with these re-recordings, can reclaim that past.

Taylor Swift re-recording her masters is important for many reasons. Swift’s re-recordings are extremely successful in the charts, which is impressive due to it being a re-recorded work and also is important to women in the music industry. Men dominate streaming charts, which makes Swift’s general success even more significant. All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, beating a record set by Don McLean in 1972 with American Pie. A record being broken is impressive in its own right, but even more so when done by a re-recording of a previous song.

 Ultimately, Taylor Swift re-recording of her masters is important to her and music in its own right, and we should support her by streaming Taylor’s Version.