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What Does “Taylor’s Version” Mean? Fully Explained

If you have paid attention to music lately, you might have noticed that Taylor Swift has released and re-released albums and songs with “Taylor’s Version.” Are you wondering what it means? We’re going to tell you all about what “Taylor’s Version” means below, so keep reading to find out!

What Exactly Is Taylor’s Version?

September 13, 2023 – Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards. Image source: iHeartRadioCA, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Taylor’s Version is Swift’s personal pursuit to once again control the rights to her music and what will eventually be her legacy. She wasn’t given a fair chance to even purchase the master recordings of her first six albums that were under her previous label Big Machine Records. Re-recording those original albums will give her ownership of her music so that she can do with it as she pleases.

This means that in the future, she can sell those songs from Taylor’s Version to anyone who wants her music in their television shows, movies, or commercials, and she will get all of the revenue from those usages as opposed to her either getting none or barely any of the revenue. So, we wouldn’t be surprised in the near future to hear Taylor’s Version on television being used in movies, television series, and commercials

What Albums Are Going To Be Recorded As Taylor’s Version?

Enchanted (Taylor's Version)

The six original albums that have undergone or are undergoing the Taylor’s Version re-release include: 

  • Taylor Swift
  • Fearless
  • Speak Now
  • Red
  • 1989 
  • Reputation 

Why Is It Important For Taylor Swift To Re-Record And Release Her Music?

Swift wants to have ownership of her previous music that was under Big Machine Records before she grants requests to use her music in advertisements, television shows, or movies. She wants her music to be featured in movies or in commercials, but she doesn’t want to unless she has 100% ownership of her songs. 

Taylor Swift - Fearless (Taylor's Version) (Lyric Video)

Her team is contacted regularly because people want to use her tracks but none of those requests have been granted because of the copyright dispute with Big Machine Records. Once Swift records and re-releases all of her six original albums, it frees her up to allow for the use of her songs in movies or television. She would also be able to do anything else she wants with her music and license it for anyone she wants to use, which is the control she wanted to have all along.  

How Did Taylor Swift Lose Rights To Her Music?

As mentioned, her first six albums were put out under Big Machine Records, and Scooter Braun purchased Big Machine Records in 2019 through Ithaca Holdings, which was his company. This meant he owned the master recordings of those albums and every track on those albums. 

 September 16, 2022 – Scooter Braun. Image source: Braunadd (Scooter) Scott Braun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Swift wrote a post on this when Braun purchased Big Machine Records talking about how she could have resigned to Big Machine Records and “earned” each album back one at a time, with the deal being for each new record she recorded, she’d earn one of her old ones back. However, she chose not to pursue that option because she knew a sale would happen if she signed that contract, saying she had to walk away from her previous work and essentially start over. 

How Did Taylor Swift Learn That Scooter Braun Purchased Her Catalog? 

September 13, 2014 – Kim Kardashian West at Parramatta Westfield, Sydney, Australia. Image source: Eva Rinaldi, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Swift said she learned about Braun purchasing her catalog when he bought Big Machine Records just like everyone else, when it was public knowledge. At the time, she thought about all of the times she had been bullied and manipulated by him, such as when he got Kim Kardashian to record a phone call illegally and leak it to the press and also getting bullied by his clients

In 2020, he sold her master recordings to a private equity firm, called Shamrock Holdings, and that meant her music was sold a second time. It was in November 2020 when she said through her Twitter account she would re-record her old albums and had already started that process, which was exciting. Not only that, but she also decided to release some bonus tracks on her re-releases to make it more exciting for fans and to give them another reason to buy the album once again. 

April 2, 2023 – Taylor Swift Eras Tour in Arlington, Texas. Image source: Ronald Woan from Redmond, WA, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Swift went on to talk about how Braun now had control of her work and her legacy is in the hands of the person who seemed on set from the beginning to try to destroy her. In an effort to raise awareness about not only what is happening to her but also to help other artists avoid the situation, she decided to openly talk about what was happening and talk about how men have controlled the industry, and there was a lot of abuse and manipulation that went along with that. 

Will Taylor Swift Make Money From Taylor’s Version?

Taylor Swift - Red (Taylor's Version) (Lyric Video)

Swift will make money from Taylor’s Version albums that she releases since they will give her control and ownership of her old songs. This means she will get the revenue from the re-recorded albums and tracks, including streaming and any licensing opportunities that come up. She will have a larger share of the revenue from the streaming and album sales, so this is going to benefit her financially quite a bit. 

There is also the fact that by releasing Taylor’s Version of her music, she might gain some new fans who hadn’t heard of her previous work. Not only will it lead to more sales of her music, but she will also get revenue from any concert tickets, merchandise, and other items that these new fans will bring in by buying and supporting her. Her old fans will buy her re-released albums out of loyalty to her and will support her through this endeavor. 

What’s Been The Reaction To Taylor’s Version? 

Taylor Swift - Speak Now (Taylor's Version) (Lyric Video)

The fans loved her idea of re-recording her old songs and releasing the albums labeled as Taylor’s Version and have supported her through the whole process. All of her re-released albums that were Taylor’s Version have hit number one on the Billboard 200 chart and have brought in quite a bit of streaming revenue. She had four of her albums within the Top 10 of the Billboard chart at the same time, which put her as the first musician in over 60 years to achieve that feat. 

Does Taylor’s Version Include Recent Albums?

Taylor Swift - evermore (Official Lyric Video) ft. Bon Iver

The only albums impacted by the copyright dispute that Swift chose to re-record and release as Taylor’s Version we’ve listed above. Her recent albums including Lover, folklore, evermore, and Midnights do not need a Taylor’s Version. She has the rights to all of those albums and songs since they are part of her deal with Universal Music Group and Republic Records and were never a part of her dispute with Braun or Big Machine Records. 

What Albums Are Left To Get The Taylor’s Version Redo?

Welcome To New York

Swift has already released a few of her previous albums as Taylor’s Version, and in August 2023, she announced that 1989 is going to be released soon. That leaves just two albums for her to re-record and release, which are her debut studio album, Taylor Swift, and Reputation.  

Does Taylor’s Version Sound Any Different?

May 16, 2007 – Taylor Swift performing at Yahoo headquarters. Image source: Brian Cantoni.Crop made by Bserin, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Swift is trying to keep her Taylor’s Version albums similar in sound to her original albums, so there shouldn’t be much difference in sound quality. However, the original albums were recorded when she was younger, so you may notice slight differences in her voice, which is natural since she’s older now and more mature. Fans may notice a bit more autotune than in the originals and some of the musicians providing the instrumentation may not be the same musicians from her original albums. 

There are some positives about buying the Taylor’s Version over the original though, such as some songs have been extended to be longer than what was on the original album. Nearly all of the lyrics are the same as in the original minus one or two changes such as in a track called Better Than Revenge.

Fans had complained for years that there was a lyric in this song that would be slut-shaming, so she changed that lyric, but all other tracks are nearly identical. Some additional lyrics and verses have been added to those songs that were extended in length. 

Her intention with Taylor’s Version is that she wanted it to get as close to the originals as possible and didn’t want to change sound quality much beyond what she couldn’t control, such as her voice because she knew that would upset her fans. So, when you listen to Taylor’s Version and compare it to the original, you’re probably not going to notice much difference if you notice anything at all. 

Which Is Better: Taylor’s Version or The Original Version?

May 13, 2010 – Taylor Swift’s Fearless Tour in Newark. Image source: Alexanhalasan, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This question is purely subjective, and there is no right or wrong answer to this question. The new albums being released are going to sound similar enough that you probably won’t care either way. If the lyric in Better Than Revenge bothered you, then you might think the new Taylor’s Version with the changed lyric is better. 

However, with additional songs and content on Taylor’s Version, if you’re a fan and have the means to purchase her new records, then you’re probably going to like it better for the extras and extended tracks. There will be some fans who say that the vocals aren’t quite the same and prefer the original recording from the original album, so it’s merely up to each person to figure out which version they like better. 

Should You Buy Taylor’s Version Or The Original Album?

August 9, 2023 – Taylor Swift performing on her Eras Tour concert at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. Image source: Paolo V, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’d like to support Swift, then it’s better to purchase Taylor’s Version, whether you’re getting individual songs or the entire album. Choosing to purchase the original tracks or original album is supporting the music industry, Shamrock Holdings, and Braun, and they would be who would financially benefit from you purchasing the original albums and songs. Therefore, if you want Swift to get all of the revenue from her music, exclusively buying Taylor’s Version is the best option. 

Will Taylor’s Version Lead to Changes In The Music Industry?

It’s not known yet what impact Taylor’s Version will have in the music industry, but it’s making more artists aware of how they can take back control of their music and own the rights to previously released albums and songs. The music industry probably isn’t happy with what Swift is doing since it’s giving other artists more backbone to demand complete ownership of their tracks; although it’s not known how many artists, if any, have done this yet because of Swift. 

She is hoping more artists will take note of what she’s doing, essentially throwing the middle finger up to the record label and producers and doing it on her own. While not every artist has the ability or financial success to be able to do this, the hope is more artists will at least read their contract terms and negotiate so that they are in control of their music long-term. 

All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault) (Lyric Video)

We will have to wait and see what happens and what impact Taylor’s Version has on artists and the industry, For Swift, it seems her hard work re-recording and re-releasing her albums is paying off because she’s taking in a ton of revenue and getting a ton of publicity for this bold and creative move.

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