Kelly Clarkson was right! She’s always right. Okay, maybe not when it comes to mid-2000s highlights or movie scripts, but still. Taylor Swift revealed her plans to get back at Scooter Braun for owning six albums worth of her masters, and just like Kelly suggested, it involves Taylor re-recording all of her old music.
After Taylor Swift learned that Scooter Braun had bought out her former record label Big Machine for $300 million and subsequently became the owner of six albums worth of her masters, she accused him and former Big Machine owner Scott Borchetta of a shady deal to keep her away from owning her own masters. Taylor claimed she had tried to buy her masters back for years, and that Scott would only allow it if they brokered a deal where she’d get an album back for every new album recorded. She wasn’t into that, and so she left Big Machine and struck a deal with Universal Music Group.
Taylor sat down for an interview with CBS Sunday Morning (via Deadline), and she admitted she’s planning to re-record her old songs. In the interview, which airs this Sunday, Taylor is asked by CBS News’ Tracy Smith about the possibility of re-recording all her songs in an attempt to reclaim ownership. Taylor made it pretty clear she’s willing to go way pettier than just barking at Scooter during a performance.
Tracy Smith: “Might you do that?”
Taylor Swift: “Oh yeah.”
Tracy Smith: “That’s a plan?”
Taylor Swift: “Yeah, absolutely.”
Taylor also addressed the situation on Good Morning America this morning. Taylor explained to Robin Roberts that she was really excited about the release of her latest album Lover, because it would be the first album she actually owns. Robin asked Taylor about the suggestion that she’ll re-record her music, and Taylor confirmed it again.
“It’s true, it’s something that I’m very excited about doing, because my contract says that starting November 2020 – so next year – I can record albums one through five all over again. So I’m very excited about it, because I just think that artists deserve to own their work. I just feel very passionately about that…It’s next year, it’s right around the corner, I’m going to be busy, I’m really excited!”
You can watch that conversation starting at the 1:19 mark.
Taylor doesn’t explain whether re-recording her masters will totally fix the situation. But TMZ says it probably won’t. They claim that every record label has a clause in every recording contract that states artists can’t move to another label, re-record their music, and market those re-recordings. Every clause has an expiration date – Taylor’s might be November 2020. But even then, there’s another copyright law she might face. TMZ says it’s called an Original Production Clause. It prevents the artist from directly copying the original version, so she’d have to change up the songs.
There’s also a chance that Taylor’s plan will make Scooter even richer than he already is. TMZ says that Prince pulled a similar stunt when he was fighting with Warner Bros. in the ’90s. Prince’s re-recordings ended up making the originals even more valuable, which made Warner Bros. more money. TMZ says that the Big Machine catalogue is now valued at almost $1 billion, and Taylor’s re-recordings could make it worth even more.
Since Taylor has to deviate from her original work just enough to keep a lawsuit out of her lap, her re-recordings will be pretty obvious. I’m expecting her to release albums titled Even More Fearless and Speak Now, But Louder This Time!. But she also has to make the songs just a bit different too. How even? Is she going to start every song like DJ Khaled, yelling, “This is a Taylor Swift re-recorded master!” followed by the pew-pew-pew club remix air horn sound? Actually, I can’t wait to hear that lead into Teardrops On My Guitar.