Taylor Swift will release her new album “Red (Taylor’s Version)” on Friday, Nov. 12, with re-recorded versions of all the original songs from her fourth studio album “Red,” and a few never released titles.
The new track list will consist of 30 songs, including a ten-minute version of the popular song “All Too Well,” which has well surpassed 100,000 streams on Spotify alone. The anthem describes her relationship and subsequent breakup with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. The Rolling Stones ranks it as her best song of all time.
Other popular songs Swift will feature on this album include the new versions of “Red,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “22” and “We Are Never Getting Back Together.”
Swift also added a few well-known artists to the bonus tracks, collaborating with Pheobe Bridgers, Chris Stapleton and Ed Sheeran.
“Red (Taylor’s Version)” follows the first re-release of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” which debuted April 9 this year. According to an article written by Chris Willman for Variety, the “Fearless” remake amassed 291,000 album equivalent units when it came out in April and quickly became one of the highest performing albums of the year. One album equivalent unit equals one album sale, 10 song downloads, or 1,500 streams. Willman projects the new rendition of “Red” to greatly outperform the success of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).”
“’Red’” is predicted to outdo that based on the original album’s fan-favorite status, a more intriguing batch of previously unheard bonus material and, of course, proximity to the holiday sales frame for an artist who can be counted on to sell physical product,” Willman said.
According to Raisa Bruner in an article for Time Magazine, Swift decided to re-record six of her albums over a dispute regarding the ownership of her music.
In 2005, Swift signed with the company Big Machine Records, jumpstarting her career with the release of her first studio album “Taylor Swift” in 2006. More than a decade later, in 2018, the contract expired. Swift filled those years with sold-out shows, outrageously popular albums and millions of fans who self-define as “Swifties.”
After the contract ended, Swift moved her artistry to Universal’s Republic Records. However, Big Machine Records still held ownership of the masters from her first six albums.
According to an article written by Ryan Mikeala Nguyen for the University of California’s newspaper, owning a master version of a song gives a person the right to release the song for commercial use in movies, television, advertising and more. Without those rights, Swift cannot access the music for performances or documentaries as well as make decisions about the use of the tracks. Those six albums hold 67% of the music Swift has released over the course of her nine-album career.
“Swift’s discography constitutes nearly 80% of Big Machine Label’s revenue,” Nguyen said.
Swift tried to buy back the rights to her music from Big Machine, but the company refused to work with her.
Shortly after, Ithaca Holdings, managed by Scooter Braun, bought Big Machine along with Swift’s music. Swift highly criticized the sale to Braun and claimed the man had bullied her in the past.
“This is what happens when you sign a deal at 15 to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept,” Swift wrote in a Tumblr post. “And when that man says, ‘Music has value’ he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it.”
To regain control of her music, the singer promised her fans to re-record all her original songs and finally hold the rights to her own music. In 2019, Braun sold her masters to Shamrock Holdings for $300 million according to Bruner.
“Artists should own their own work for so many reasons,” Swift said in an Instagram post. “But the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really knows that body of work.”
Along with “Fearless” and “Red,” Swift will rerecord “Taylor Swift,” “Speak Now,” “Reputation” and “1989.”