Why is Taylor Swift re-recording her old songs and albums?

File photo dated 08/12/19 of Taylor Swift, who has been announced as one of the headliners for next year's Glastonbury Festival.  Isabel Infantes/PA
Credit: PA

Red is the second album Taylor Swift has re-recorded, and it is all because of a row over ownership and rights to her music.

The row between Taylor Swift and music businessman Scooter Braun has been going on since 2019, when he bought the ownership to her first six albums.

Swift, who has given up on buying back her first few albums, is now on a mission to re-record them.

The first album she re-recorded was Fearless, with the album released in April. With Red now out of the way, she has four more left to re-record.

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Why doesn't Taylor swift own her old music?

Swift her first record deal with Big Machine Label Group, then very much in its infancy, when she was just 14.

At the time of signing, she gave the company the rights to her first six albums and in return, she received a cash advance.

It meant Big Machine Label Group owned the 'master recordings' of her songs, therefore profiting from all copies of the master track on CDs, and tracks used on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Taylor Swift Credit: AP

What happened between Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun?

The row began when Scooter Braun bought Ms Swift's first label, Big Machine in June, 2019, for $300 million (£237 million).

Braun owns company, SB Projects, which manages several big artists including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, David Guetta and the Black Eyed Peas.

Swift accused Braun of bullying her for years and suggested he was out to "dismantle" her work.

She said: “Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter.

“Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.”

Taylor Swift has accused Scooter Braun of bullying. Credit: AP

Scott Borchetta, who founded Big Machine, denied parts of Swift’s story.

Swift tried to purchase her music back but Braun's team said she had to sign a non-disclosure agreement promising she would not speak negatively of him in public again.

Braun sold the master recordings to Swift's first six albums in November 2020 to Shamrock Holdings. But Swift says Braun will still profit from her music.

Back in 2019 Braun's wife, Yael Braun, came to his defence saying he is "anything but a bully", adding: "Interesting that the man you're so 'grossed out' by believed in you more than you believe in yourself."

When Swift first publicly rebuked Braun, following the sale of her back catalogue in June, the talent manager's most high-profile client, Bieber, was quick to defend him.

What is Taylor Swift doing now?

Ms Swift signed with Republic Records in 2018 in a deal which meant she could keep the rights to her music.

She has since released three new albums and two re-recorded albums: Red (Taylor's Version) on November 12, 2021 and Fearless (Taylor's Version) on 9 April, 2021.

Re-recording them means Ms Swift creates new 'master' versions of her old tracks that she has ownership of. So when those versions are played on Spotify and Apple Music, she profits from them.

But any old versions of her songs still belong to Shamrock Holdings, and so the company will continue to profit from the old tracks if people play them.