Why Taylor Swift is rerecording all her old songs

Taylor Swift just announced that she’s about to hit the recording studio again to make music. But she won’t be working on new material. Instead, the Hollywood Reporter writes, she is rerecording all her albums.

Swift’s announcement comes a month after the news broke that her old record label — Big Machine Records, which she left in 2018 — had been sold to music megamanager Scooter Braun. That gave Braun the rights to all of the master recordings for Swift’s old music, meaning that anyone who wanted to license one of Swift’s old songs to play in a TV show or movie or an ad would have to ask for Braun’s permission and pay him a licensing fee. And because Braun used to work with sworn Taylor Swift enemy Kanye West, Swift was devastated. In an emotional Tumblr post, she called the news “my worst case scenario.”

In an interview with CBS’s Tracy Smith that is scheduled to air this Sunday, Swift said she plans to sidestep Braun by rerecording her entire songbook, which contains all the songs she released prior to her forthcoming album, Lover.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Smith asked Swift if she is planning to make new versions of all of her masters, and Swift replied, “Oh yeah.”

“That’s a plan?” Smith asked.

Swift confirmed again: “Yeah, absolutely.”

When Swift switched over to Republic Records last fall, she negotiated to own the master rights to all of the music she creates going forward. So if she rerecords her old songbook with Republic Records, she will own the copyright to all of the new recordings. The move would give licensers the option to work directly with Swift and her team rather than go through Braun. And that, in turn, would allow Swift to reclaim some command over her music and how it’s used.

This news that Swift is taking control of her narrative comes, with typically savvy Swiftian timing, just days before the release of Lover. You’ll be able to listen to the new album on Friday, August 23.