Red: Taylor’s Version

Marisol Orlina, Reporter

At midnight EST, Nov. 12, Taylor Swift released the long-awaited Taylor’s Version of her 2012 album Red.

The album includes the rerelease of the 20 original tracks, seven new additions (also known as “From the Vault” songs), an acoustic recording, a song cover from the country group Little Big Town, and lastly, the 10-minute version of her track All Too Well.

Before reaching her current level of success, the Grammy-winner was a 15-year-old living in Nashville, Tennessee, with very little idea about the conflicts that would come to shape her fame.

In 2005, Swift was spotted by Scott Borchetta from the label Big Machine. She signed her first record deal with the group at the age 15.

After 13 years of dedication, Swift switched to Universal’s Republic Records. The masters of her first six albums, Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, and Reputation would stay owned by Big Machine.

June 30, 2019, Scooter Braun, an entertainment investor, bought the record label Big Machine for $300 million. This resulted in each of her mastered albums prior to 2018 being placed into the hands of Braun’s Ithaca Holdings Group.

Swift was heartbroken. Her feud with Scooter Braun was not new. However, him acquiring all her albums released from 2006-2018 was, in her words, “the worst-case scenario.”

Swift stated that he had repeatedly bullied her over the years and was “the definition of toxic male privilege in our industry.”

From Taylor Swift’s side of the story, it has been stated neither Braun nor Borchetta notified her of the transaction before the story was publicly published.

“This just happened to me without my approval, consultation, or consent,” Taylor said. “Private equity enabled this man to think, according to his own social media post, that he could ‘buy me.’”

Braun, Borchetta, and Braun’s wife Cohen have their own stories.

“I personally texted Taylor … to inform her prior to the story breaking … so she could hear it directly from me,” Braun wrote on Big Machine’s website.

Following this post, Swift’s attorney, Donald Passman, denied any opportunity was taken to notify Swift had a chance to purchase her music or label.

There is little clear confirmation on whether Swift received proper notice on the sale or the availability for her to purchase her own music.

Since the very beginnings there has been consistent rebuttal and back-and-forth denial between Swift’s party and Braun’s, including accusations of being prevented from preforming her own music at the AMAs, blockage from purchasing her master recordings, an NDA stating she would never speak of Braun negatively again, an alleged live album release under the record’s name rather then hers, and a second sale of each masters album to Shamrock Holdings.

Still, Swift did not suffice to the limitations from Braun and his ownership.

Amid the drama, in August of 2019, Swift announced on a showing of CBS Sunday Morning, once legally allowed to, she would begin rerecording tracks of her music owned by Big Machine.

“I just think that artists deserve to own their own work. I just feel very passionately about that,” Swift said during the interview.

And so, Taylor’s Version was born.

The world-renown signer now has complete ownership of the three original albums Lover, Folklore, and Evermore, all of which were recorded after joining Republic Records, as well as the rerecording of 2008’s Fearless, and now, 2012’s Red.

These albums are listed as Fearless [Taylor’s Version] and Red [Taylor’s Version]. Fearless [TV] was the first to enter the Swiftie community, as it was released April of 2021.

The ability to rerelease and record gives Swift a way to earn back control over her most famous tracks and increase listeners and streams.

By connecting her music to her personal label, Taylor Swift strengthens the bond and loyalty she and her supporters share with each other.

Nov. 12, the day of Red [Taylor’s Version]’s release, Swift reached out with a tweet of celebration.

“It never would have been possible to go back & remake my previous work, uncovering art & forgotten gems along the way if you hadn’t emboldened me. Red is about to be mine again. But it has always been ours. Now we begin again. Red (my version) is out.”




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