I’m not even going to beat around the bush this time around, because by my estimate, there’s a 99 percent chance you’re already aware that Taylor Swift surprise-dropped (yes, again – when will she let me rest?!) the updated recording of “Wildest Dreams,” from 2014’s epitome of pop record 1989. But what you may not have realized about the drop of “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” is that it was ~allegedly~ prompted by the original version of the track’s recent jump to TikTok trend fame, thanks to the Wildest Dreams TikTok trend.
Allegedly, you ask? Well, yes. While Taylor herself claimed on Twitter that the trend was the inspiration for dropping the re-recording, it feels too out of the blue for the queen of months-long plans (just take a look at her TikTok debut, full of smooth transitions from era to era that seem to have been filmed over the last year, at least). Swifties could be clowning around, as we tend to do, but there seems to be evidence pointing to 1989 (Taylor’s Version) dropping soon, from the length and color of her fingernails in this TikTok to the price of signed Fearless (Taylor’s Version) albums ($19.89) to this glitch on TikTok that resembles “Bad Blood’s” music video and more.
But the mounting evidence for a rapidly approaching release of 1989 isn’t actually what we’re here for, nor is the reasoning behind “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” suddenly falling into our laps. What we are here for is an assurance that you use Taylor’s version for all of your future TikToking needs! Whether this was a slightly impulsive drop driven by the TikTok trend or the timing just happened to match up a little too perfectly for Ms. Swift, the use of her version ensures that the right people are being rewarded for the use of the song.
As with any other music streaming service, the use of officially licensed music from the sound library leads to royalty payments to the copyright holders. According to Haulix, a company that helps musicians engage with their listeners, TikTok pays out their royalties based on the number of videos that use your music, rather than the number of times that music is heard, like Spotify would. So while royalties from TikTok are probably small potatoes in comparison, that’s still small potatoes rolling into Scooter Braun’s pocket, allowing a man who has had absolutely no positive hand in Taylor’s career whatsoever to reap the benefits of the trend. By adding a version that she owns entirely to the music library, he stops receiving royalties for the track – so long as TikTokers stop using the original song.
While, yes, the drop was a thrilling addition to our Spotify playlists, it was also a small yet savage move on Taylor’s part that allows her to reclaim the royalties that she’s rightfully earned. Whether you’re a day one Swiftie or still one of those people that think it’s a personality trait to hate Taylor, surely we can all agree that the artists that actually build the music – from conception to production – are the ones that deserve the bulk of the credit and the reward. Taylor is taking ownership over her own work – something she always should have had to begin with – and setting an example for labels and songwriters alike to allow artists full control over the songs that they’ve written.
So if you’re feeling a little main character-y today, just make sure you use Taylor’s version of the song when you add your own take on the trend; my TikTok BFF deserves everything (and none for Scooter, bye).