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Taylor Swift
via Instagram/@taylorswift

Taylor Swift fans celebrate the fact she’s now free to re-record old songs

#TaylorIsFree has been trending on Twitter, as the singer previously said she can legally re-record her masters from November 2020

Back in August 2019, Taylor Swift announced that she intended to re-record her old songs in order to regain control of her masters. “It’s something I’m very excited about doing,” the singer said in an appearance on Good Morning America, adding that she would be able to do so legally from November 2020.

Predictably, Swift’s fans haven’t forgotten that small detail. November 1, #TaylorIsFree was trending on Twitter, celebrating the fact that she’s now free to re-record her music, and looking forward to the (admittedly huge) undertaking.

For context, re-recording the songs would settle a longstanding dispute over the ownership of Swift’s music. Right to the masters for her records from Taylor Swift (2006) through to Reputation (2017) were sold by her former label Big Machine to the talent manager Scooter Braun in 2019. Reportedly, she’ll still have to wait until 2020 to re-record Reputation – her sixth studio album – since it arrived in 2017.

“I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world,” Swift wrote in a Tumblr post when the masters were sold. “All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.”

Swift also said that Braun, along with Big Machine Label Group CEO Scott Borchetta, were stopping her from playing her old hits live that same year, stating: “I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year.”

While Swift is a particularly high-profile example of the controversy between artists and their labels regarding the ownership of master recordings, it’s a fairly common issue in the music industry. Kanye West also brought it to light earlier this year as he publicly shared his recording contracts with Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam Recordings, and Universal Music Group. 

Read Dazed’s explainer on masters for more insight on what they are and how they function in the record industry, and view more posts celebrating Taylor Swift’s newfound freedom below.