Above: Taylor Swift Releases Her New Version Of Song Love Story (Taylor’s Version) From Her Fearless Music Album, But This Time The Music Belongs To Her And Not Her Music Record Company (Music Label).
Thirteen years ago, Taylor Swift opened her song “Love Story” with a memory: “We were both young when I first saw you,” the precocious country star, then 18, sang in the lead single from her 2008 “Fearless” album, “I close my eyes and the flashback starts.”
On Thursday night (February 11, 2021), legendary 10 times Grammy Awards winner Taylor Swift, now 31 years old and one of the world’s most famous and highest paid music singers, released a re-recorded version of the Romeo and Juliet theme “Love Story” as the first sample from a highly anticipated re-release of her famous “Fearless” music album due April 9, 2021. Co-produced by Taylor Swift and Chris Rowe (a longtime Nashville music studio professional who worked on Taylor Swift’s early music records) and featuring a number of the musicians who played on the original, the new “Love Story” — officially titled “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” — is virtually indistinguishable from the original song version that gave Taylor Swift her first top 10 music hit when she was not yet the world famous music star that she is today.
After more than a year of anticipation, Taylor Swift has begun releasing re-recorded versions of her old music classics, starting with “Love Story” which was originally released in late 2008 as the lead single for Taylor Swift’s second music album “Fearless.” It has been certified eight-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and is widely considered to be Taylor Swift’s signature song.
The new “Love Story” version released on Friday remains largely faithful to the country pop original song, which was inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” story.
Back in August 2019, Taylor Swift confirmed her plans to re-record her first six music albums, from her self-titled debut to 2017’s “Reputation” music album. The original master recordings were owned by Big Machine Records, the Nashville based music label where Taylor Swift signed her first record contract at age 15 (ownership of a music artist’s masters, which is typical of a major music label company, is what enables the music label company to profit from music sales and music streams and to control the use of the artist’s music in movies, television shows, and television commercials).
After her music contract expired in 2018, Taylor Swift signed with Universal Music Group, whose terms allow her to retain the rights to all new music (a catalog that now includes 2019’s “Lover,” 2020’s “Folklore,” and 2020’s “Evermore”).
The real drama began when celebrity music manager Scooter Braun (who represents music stars Kanye West, Ariana Grande, and Justin Bieber) purchased Big Machine Records (the acquisition was done through his company Ithaca Holdings) in June 2019 for approximately $300 million United States dollars. Taylor Swift said she was “sad and grossed out” that Scooter Braun had acquired ownership of her music catalog and accused him of bullying her in the past.
Bothered by music executive Scooter Braun’s purchase of her old label Big Machine Records in 2019, Taylor Swift said that year that she planned to re-record her first six music albums as a way to potentially diminish the value of the master recordings acquired by Scooter Braun, known among other things for his work with Taylor Swift’s longtime nemesis Kanye West.
Just 17 months later, Scooter Braun sold Taylor Swift’s music catalog (and master rights) to Shamrock Capital, an investment fund, for more than $300 million United States dollars. According to Taylor Swift, Shamrock Capital offered to work with her, but she declined when she learned that Scooter Braun would retain a financial interest in her music. In a letter she posted on Twitter, Taylor Swift told Shamrock’s partners that she intended to proceed with re-recording her old music — the idea being that her new song versions would supplant the originals in the music market.
The question is why did Taylor Swift remake “Fearless,” her second music studio album, first? By some measures the music album “Fearless” is Taylor Swift’s most successful LP (an LP is a full-length music album), having sold more than 10 million copies and winning four Grammy Awards, including album of the year. The new edition of “Fearless” will feature 26 songs, including previously unreleased songs Taylor Swift wrote around the same time as “Love Story” and other music hits like “Fifteen” and “You Belong With Me” which made Taylor Swift very famous.
In a note to her music fans, Taylor Swift said that her approach to re-recording “Fearless” would hopefully help illuminate her desire to remake and re-release old music.
“Artists should own their own work for so many reasons, but the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really knows that body of work,” Taylor Swift wrote to her music fans. “For example, only I know which songs I wrote that almost made the ‘Fearless’ album,” she continued. “Songs I absolutely adored, but were held back for different reasons.”
The updated version will include six additional tracks that were never officially released. “I’ve decided I want you to have the whole story, see the entire vivid picture, and let you into the entire dreamscape that is my ‘Fearless’ album,” Taylor Swift wrote to her hundreds of millions of music fans located around the world.