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How Taylor’s Versions Impact the Music Industry

In mid-November, Taylor Swift fans across the world were able to listen to the artist’s over-two-hour re-recording of her album, Red, which originally came out in 2012. This is the second re-recording Taylor has released this year, following the release of Fearless: Taylor’s Version, back in April. The release of these recordings and the ones to come are so much more impactful than they may seem.

Back in 2018, Taylor Swift announced that she was parting ways with Big Machine, the record label she’s been signed with, since the beginning of her career. In 2019, Taylor announced, via notes app screenshots on Twitter, that the rights to her first six albums had been purchased by former manager Scooter Braun. This meant she had no ownership of any of these recordings and had lost all rights to perform any of the songs on these recordings. This outraged both fans and other artists who encouraged Taylor to re-record her work as it was still her intellectual property. So she has done, and is still doing, just that.

Taylor is releasing her re-recordings, appropriately titled “Taylor’s Version,” out of chronological order, for reasons that fans are still trying to sleuth out via social media posts and easter eggs in music videos. Fearless and Red are her second and fourth albums, so she still has yet to release her debut, third, fifth, and sixth albums. The re-recordings that have been released so far include her From the Vault tracks, containing songs that were either previous bonus tracks, limited releases, or brand new songs that didn’t make the tracklist the first time around. While many fans (including yours truly) are thrilled about all of this exclusive new content, the true message of these re-recordings should not be ignored.

By re-recording and re-releasing her works, Taylor Swift is setting a precedent for both the music industry and artists everywhere. She’s rightfully taking ownership of what is hers — her art. She’s showing the music industry that artists are people, not just a commodity, and that these people are entitled to ownership of their work. She’s proving to all the naysayers that fighting back and demanding control of what’s yours is worth so much more than being taken advantage of.

She’s also showing artists everywhere that the impossible is possible and that taking on the massive corporate entities within the music industry is very much doable. Everyone who creates has the right to their own creations, and absolutely no one in any position of power has the authority to put a price tag on that. And for the rest of us who aren’t in the music industry, she has shown us how much value and power there is in making art, and how we should never, ever give up on the things we create and the things that we care about. 

Art, specifically music, is one of the most essential aspects to how our society functions. You would be hard pressed to walk around in a public space and not find the majority of people there listening to music. The music we listen to becomes a part of who we are, almost as much as it becomes a part of those who create it. Let yourself freely enjoy the artists you like, and the music you like. The importance of supporting the arts in any and every aspect is criminally understated. So do your best to support the work owned and created by the artists themselves, and if you don’t know where to begin, “Taylor’s Versions” are a great place to start.

Hi there! My name is Emily, and I'm a senior Media Production student and I'm a staff writer for Arts & Entertainment! Some of my interests include reading, listening to music, and photography!
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