Taylor’s Version, What Does it Mean?


(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

By Tatum Koster | November 22, 2021


The familiar echo of Taylor Swift’s catchy beat-synced up to the lyrics, “But loving him was red,” is in the air again. It's more than a good throwback that has stayed relevant.


On Friday, Nov. 12, Swift released her album, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” which is a re-recording of her 2012 album with some additional new songs. Alongside the album, she also debuted a short film and a music video. The question is why is she re-releasing an album that is almost ten years old?


The short answer, Scooter Braun.


In June 2019, Braun bought Taylor’s previous record label, Big Machine Records, for over $300 million. A deal that Swift quickly expressed her disapproval of in the form of a long blog post that sparked a lot of arguments on social media from some of the industry’s biggest names including Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato.


“When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually, he would sell them,” Swift said in her blog post about Scott Borchetta, the previous owner and founder of Big Machine Records. “Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter.”


In this deal, Braun would acquire the masters of Swift’s first six albums from “Taylor Swift” in 2006 all the way to “Reputation” in 2017. It was rumored Swift would have to record one new album to get the rights back for each of her old albums, meaning she would need to release six new albums under Braun’s control in order to rightfully use her old music. If she did not produce what Braun wanted, she would legally not be allowed to perform any of the songs on the albums without Braun’s permission or have any say in where the music could be used.


By then Swift had left Big Machine Records, now producing with Republic Records where she said, “Thankfully, I am now signed to a label that believes I should own anything I create.”


With Republic Records, Swift was able to find a loophole in this legal battle. She would begin to rerecord all of her old songs, starting with “Fearless Taylor’s Version” in April. The tracks would experience some minor tweaks from a change in a word or a line of the lyrics to shifts in the background instrumentals and even an additional five minutes of new vocals to her song, “All Too Well.”


These minor alterations can be heard when listening to the old song and the song side by side. In Taylor’s version of, “Everything Has Changed” her vocals are slightly stronger and crisper while the background instrumentals sound roughly the same there are slightly different from the original song. By producing these altered songs she is essentially releasing a brand new song that she now has full rights over. This allows her to once again use the music she created however she sees fit.


Swift didn’t stop there, along with this already full album she added songs that had yet to see the light of day, songs that were intended for the original album but didn’t make the final cut. Some of these new songs include, “I Bet You Think About Me” and “Forever Winter.”


On Nov. 16, just four days after the album’s release date, Swift had already sold 325,000 copies according to MRC Data published by Billboard. Setting Swift for the biggest sales week of the year for any album.


Billboard will publish the Billboard 200 chart reflecting the hottest hits on Nov. 21, reporting from the tracking week of Nov. 12 to Nov. 18. According to Billboard, if Swift’s album debuts number one, her tally for number one records will burst into double digits at 10. Making her only the second female artist with 10 number one albums, following behind Barbra Streisand with 11.


Swifties have a lot of predictions as to what album she will rerecord next, due to her tendency to leave easter eggs behind every corner. For now, we’ll be streaming “Red (Taylor’s Version)” on repeat.


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