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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

I’m sure Swifties are aware of how brilliant and calculated Taylor Swift is. However, for the average listener or someone who does not listen to Swift, this may seem shocking. Swift opened her “Eras Tour” in Glendale, Arizona with a total of 44 songs on the setlist (including two surprise songs that change each night). The concept behind the tour is to celebrate every “era,” or album, that Swift has released. However, if you have been keeping up with the music Swift has been re-releasing, you will notice that she has only re-recorded two out of the six unowned albums. If you examine the setlist, Swift performs some albums more than others. For example, on the first night of the tour, she performed one song from her first album, Taylor Swift, while folklore had seven songs performed. With this in mind, how is she performing a tour dedicated to every album if she only gives one song to certain albums? If you think about it from a business perspective, it all makes sense. Let’s reflect on why she is re-recording and then go from there. I would like to mention that this is just a theory. This isn’t confirmed, but just what I have thought of with the aid of videos from social media. @thethriftyswiftie shares the same thoughts on TikTok and does a great job explaining this topic! @SpotifySwifite also has great visuals for the streaming numbers on Twitter if you want to check them out!

Now, for anyone who hasn’t heard, Taylor Swift is re-recording all of the albums that she doesn’t own. Throughout her entire career, Swift has released 10 albums: Taylor Swift (debut), Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, reputation, Lover, folklore, evermore, and Midnights. Swift owns all of the publishing rights for every album. This includes owning the rights to the lyrics, melodies, and compositions. However, she doesn’t own the masters of her first six albums. The master is the official recording of a song, sound, or performance. This means that although she gains profit from the first six albums, so do those who own the original masters. By re-recording her albums, she is gaining control of her masters and fully earning money off her own music. However, more importantly, she is gaining her life’s work back, while also raising awareness within the music industry about artists owning their work. She also isn’t allowing anyone, especially those who have had no say in the creative or music process, to have a decision in her music career anymore.  

As I mentioned earlier, Swift performs some albums more than others. For example, debut and Speak Now only had one song performed, while evermore had five. Now, that makes sense because not only does she own evermore, but she has never performed it live. However, if you look at 1989 and reputation, two albums she doesn’t own, she performs four to five songs from those albums. Why would she give more attention to these albums instead of debut and Speak Now? It makes sense if you look at it from a business and streaming perspective. After the first night of the tour, evermore saw its highest streaming numbers in history. Debut and Speak Now also saw some of their biggest streaming days after the first night of the tour. This is great for an album that is owned by Swift, such as evermore. However, since she doesn’t own debut and Speak Now, this isn’t great news for Swift (from a business perspective). Now, if you turn to 1989 and reputation, one can argue that these are some of her most popular albums. This means that they are streamed way more often in comparison to Speak Now and debut. So, if 1989 and Reputation are streamed more often than Speak Now and debut, it makes more sense to perform the albums that already have more streams, even if she doesn’t completely own them. Then she isn’t losing as much when streams go up for 1989 and reputation compared to self-titled and Speak Now. By limiting the songs that are performed from Speak Now and debut, she can draw more attention to the albums that she does own or ones that have more streams.

I would just like to reiterate that this is simply a theory, and obviously, nothing is confirmed by Swift. This is one of the reasons why Taylor Swift is brilliant and extremely calculated. She is specifically curating her setlist to benefit herself, rather than those who own her older albums. Yes, her older albums will inevitably get streamed, but this setlist is the best way to celebrate each album while simultaneously highlighting her ownership. I fear that until she releases Taylor’s Versions of Speak Now and debut, we won’t hear a lot of live content from these albums. But fans can still hold out hope for the surprise songs on tour.

PK Kennedy is an active member within Her Campus at Pace. They are a social media assistant and help oversee Her Campus at Pace’s Pinterest account and write weekly articles focusing on, but not limited to, local events, music, and film/television pieces. Outside of Her Campus, PK is a senior at Pace University (NYC) and is majoring in Communications and Media Studies with a double minor in Digital Marketing and Arts and Entertainment Management. Recently, PK has been delving into multiple social media and design platforms to further their knowledge about digital marketing. During this school year, and beyond graduation, they hope to continue to learn more about photoshop and video editing software. Beyond school, PK enjoys listening and discovering new music, enjoying a cup of coffee and a sweet treat, having hour-long conversations about Star Wars and/or Marvel. If not doing any of the items listed above, PK is most definitely “rotting” in bed and gaining more knowledge about astrology and rewatching their favorite movie/TV shows again.