Taylor Swift is rereleasing her hit 1989 album - but why does she keep recording her old songs?

Taylor Swift on her Eras tour. Credit: AP

By Rachel Dixon, ITV News Multimedia Producer

Taylor Swift is rereleasing her hit 1989 album, the pop sensation announced on Thursday.

It means her hugely popular hits from 2014 including "Shake it Off" and "Blank Space" - which made her the first and only woman in Billboard Hot 100 chart history to succeed herself at the top spot - will be making a resurgence.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, she announced: "Surprise!! 1989 (Taylor’s Version) is on its way to you! The 1989 album changed my life in countless ways, and it fills me with such excitement to announce that my version of it will be out October 27th.

"To be perfectly honest, this is my most favourite re-record I’ve ever done because the 5 From The Vault tracks are so insane. I can’t believe they were ever left behind. But not for long!"

But for the non-Swifties, it may seem a little strange that this mega star is going back for seconds on her already popular hits.

Much of it boils down to a row over ownership and rights to her own music.

Read on as ITV News fills in the 'Blank Spaces' on the four-year-feud between Swift and music businessman Scooter Braun who currently owns her first six albums.

Why doesn't Taylor Swift own her old music?

At just 14, a young Swift secured her first record deal with Big Machine Label Group, a company then very much in its infancy.

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

Who is Scooter Braun and why is he involved?

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

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

He was also managing Kanye West in 2016, when he released the song 'Famous' which including derogatory lyrics about Swift.

The song and feud between Swift, West and his then-wife Kim Kardashian caused a huge dip in popularity for the songstress.

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

Speaking after Braun bought the Big Machine, 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

What are the ins and outs of the music row?

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 about 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.

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.

Why does Taylor Swift keep releasing her old songs?

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, Fearless (Taylor's Version) on 9 April, 2021, and Speak Now on July 7.

Re-recording them means Swift creates new master versions of her old tracks that she has ownership of. Therefore, 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, meaning the company will continue to profit from the old tracks if people play them.

The rereleases are marked with (Taylor's Version) after the track name.

Why should non fans care?

Even if you are not a Swiftie, there's a big chance some of your nearest and dearest are - and her popularity has not only influenced the music industry, but the wider economy.

Her global Eras tour will see her play 131 concerts to packed stadiums, with fans clamoring for tickets. Demand has seen some fans reportedly stuck in 35,000-strong queues on Ticketmaster.

The ticket sales of Swift and Foo Fighters concert tickets have helped to boost card spending by 4% year-on-year in July despite the cost of living crisis.The entertainment sector saw a significant 15.8% boost, with surges recorded on sale dates for her Eras tour as well as Foo Fighters’ upcoming concerts.

She's even impacted book sales, after an untitled novel by an unknown author has shot to the top of sales charts in the US after fans speculated it could be written by the pop star - despite having no solid evidence.

The book, known only as “4C Untitled Flatiron Nonfiction Summer 2023”, is written by a yet-to-be announced author and is due to be published in July.

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