Look What You Made HER Do

Hailey Timmerman, Staff Writer

If you’re not paying attention, you might not even realize you’re not listening to the original version of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me.” From the new maturity in her voice, to the slight change in beat, the newly released songs (Taylor’s Versions) have much bigger changes to them than the common person may realize.

With the new Fearless (Taylor’s Version) released back in April, and the new Red (Taylor’s Version) coming this month, many may be asking questions like “What’s Taylor’s Version?” or “Aren’t they her songs already?” And both have much more elaborate answers than a conversation may be able to hold. 

Going back all the way to 2005, 15-year-old Taylor signed to Big Machine Records just at the beginning of her musical career. This contract expired in 2018, long after she was selling out stadium tours and hitting radio-play heights. Six albums later, her contract was up, and she signed with a new label, Universal Republic Records. In this contract, she made sure to secure the ownership of her future albums. 

But before this happened, news got out that Big Machine Records sold to a private-equity group, Ithaca Holdings. This group was owned by Scooter Braun. He then sold Taylor’s masters to a new company, Shamrock Holdings. For him, this was smart. Anytime someone plays one of those songs, it’s money in his pocket. 

But for Taylor, it is completely unfair. As reported, she says she had no idea about the sale of the masters. She then went back at this publicly and promised to re-record those six albums under her own masters, meaning her ownership. In March of 2021, in an instagram post she wrote, “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.” It is her right to own these records and the pieces of herself she poured into each lyric she wrote. Not for the money, or the fame, but for the art she created to be able to be owned by her, as it once was.

She will not simply shake this off.