Taylor Swift writes her songs

"Fearless": That's why Taylor Swift is re-recording her old album

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Taylor Swift at the 63rd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles

© Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP / dpa
Image rights: Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP / dpa
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Taylor Swift at the 63rd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles

© Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP / dpa
Image rights: Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP / dpa
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© Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP / dpa
Image rights: Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP / dpa

Taylor Swift at the 63rd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles

This new recording is about power and money: The US singer wants to use a trick to secure control of her old songs. Behind this is a dispute with her former record label - and a 300 million euro deal.

The process is likely to be unique in the world of pop music: Because of the dispute with her former label, Taylor Swift is re-recording six of her old albums in order to continue to secure the lucrative rights to her songs. In addition to this aspect, Swift will probably adapt her old songs to her new style - more folk, less pop. There are also unreleased songs as a bonus.

The start of the six albums is their new version of "Fearless", which will be released this Friday. First released in 2008, the album marked Swift's transformation from country musician to pop star and was groundbreaking. A look at the facts shows that when it was released almost thirteen years ago, Swift was just eighteen, even then she either wrote the songs entirely herself or was a co-author. She won four Grammys for this, including the "Album of the Year". In the US, "Fearless" was the best-selling record in 2009. To date, as Swift's current label Universal announced, it has sold twelve million times.

Old songs with new nuances

To re-record the album again was by no means tedious, says Swift in an interview with music journalist Zane Lowe: "It wasn't like my homework was lost and I had to do it again, it was very fulfilling!"

Taylor Swift put 26 songs on the album, most of which the fans should know, such as the title track "Fearless" or "Love Story". The songs were hardly reinterpreted, especially Swift's older, more mature voice gives them a new nuance.

Dispute with ex-record label

The fact that Swift is now recording six new music albums mainly has something to do with the legal dispute the singer had with her old record label Big Machine. As is usually the case, this held the rights to the so-called master recordings. So the version of their songs that land on the albums. The respective rights holder can decide how the songs are licensed, for example how they are marketed by streaming services.

© Universal Music / dpa
Image rights: Universal Music / dpa

Cover of the album "Fearless (Taylor · s Version)" by Taylor Swift

Big Machine had sold these rights against Taylor Swift's will - for $ 300 million to Scooter Braun, a music manager Swift disliked and accused of sabotaging her career. "The reason why I fight so passionately that musicians should own their catalog is that as a creator of the music you know all the details, the creation process. You are the only one who knows what was almost written in and which secrets were included related to the journey the music made, ”says Swift.

New admissions are a kind of self-empowerment

Since the singer also writes her songs, she holds the rights to the songs herself - and is therefore allowed to record them again. The new recording of their first six music albums is also a kind of self-empowerment towards the record and music industry.

The dispute with Apple Music in 2015 showed that she has no problem fighting for her rights. At that time, it was about the payment of artists during a three-month free trial period for the then new service. The artists were supposed to get nothing in those three months - after Taylor Swift's intervention, Apple gave in.

So the new recordings are about power and of course money - but also about the fans, Swift emphasizes again and again. Only she as an artist could make the fans particularly happy.

She has at least redeemed that with the new version of "Fearless". Before the release there were some puzzles to solve, fans could guess the track list using anagrams. There are also six unreleased songs such as "You All Over Me" or "Mr. Perfectly Fine".

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