In June 2019, Scooter Braun’s (of Justin Bieber-associated fame) Ithaca Holdings acquired Big Machine—and with it, Taylor Swift’s catalog and masters. This means that Ithaca Holdings controls where Taylor Swift’s original recordings of her songs are licensed, and they earn money from it.
Taylor Swift signed to Big Machine (and signed away her rights to her masters) in 2005—when she was just a teenager. This means that Big Machine owns the original recordings to her first six records: 2006’s Taylor Swift all the way through 2017’s reputation. In order to combat this, and to have complete ownership of her own recordings, Swift has decided to re-record 2008’s Fearless, 2010’s Speak Now, 2012’s Red, and 2014’s 1989.
For more information on Taylor Swift discussing the re-recording, see the timeline below:
August 2019 - CBS Sunday Morning interview
When CBS News’ Tracy Smith asked Swift if she was planning on creating a new masters, Swift confirmed with “Yeah, absolutely.”
August 2019 - Good Morning America interview
Robin Roberts asked Swift to verify the rumors that she planned on re-recording her first six albums. Swift replied with the affirmative, stating “Yeah, that’s true and 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. I’m very excited about it. Because I think that artists deserve to own their work. I feel very passionate about that… it’s next year. It’s right around the corner. I’m gonna be busy. I’m really excited.”
December 2019 - Billboard Woman of the Decade cover story
Taylor Swift explained that, although she wants her music to be in movies and commercials, she only wants it to live on in that manner if she gets to own it, and own the rights. When elaborating on the re-recording journey, she said, “It’s going to be fun, because it’ll feel like regaining a freedom and taking back what’s mine. When I created [these songs], I didn’t know what they would grow up to be. Going back in and knowing that it meant something to people is actually a really beautiful way to celebrate what the fans have done for my music.”
November 2020 - Taylor Swift reveals that her contract allows her to re-record her first six albums
Swift’s masters were sold for the second time to Shamrock Holdings, which led to Swift tweeting that she had already begun re-recording her older music…and that she has plenty of surprises in store! See the official tweet here.