Taylor Swift Says She Will ‘Absolutely’ Re-Record Albums Owned By Scooter Braun + BMLG
Taylor Swift says she "absolutely" plans to re-record the first six albums of her career, which are owned by Big Machine Label Group and its new owner, Scooter Braun. The country-turned-pop superstar briefly discusses the idea in a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning.
Swift's CBS Sunday Morning interview will air on Aug. 25, as part of release week press for her new album, Lover, which is due out on Friday (Aug. 23). Per a press release (quotes via Headline Planet), the discussion between Swift and interviewer Tracy Smith touches on the possibility of the singer re-recording those first six albums as a way to have control of that material, the master recordings of which are owned by her former record label, BMLG.
“Might you do that?” Smith asks, to which Swift responds, "Oh yeah." Looking to clarify, Smith continues, "That’s a plan?” Swift answers, "Yeah, absolutely."
Singer Kelly Clarkson suggested the idea of Swift re-recording her old material via tweet in mid-July. While most major-label record deals include clauses prohibiting re-recordings of songs for a certain number of years after an artist's contract expires, in a Thursday (Aug. 22) interview with Good Morning America, Swift shared that she'll be able to do so come 2020. The news received a loud, prolonged cheer from the crowd gathered in Central Park to see her performance on the TV morning show.
Swift's master recordings have been a hot topic this summer, since it was announced at the end of June that celebrity talent manager Scooter Braun had bought Big Machine Label Group, and its publishing arm, Big Machine Music, from its founder and CEO, Scott Borchetta. After the news of BMLG's sale was announced, Swift -- who left the label for UMG after her contract ended in November -- posted a note to Tumblr stating that the sale was her "worst case scenario" because of Braun's "incessant, manipulative bullying" of her via clients including Kanye West and Justin Bieber. In response, Borchetta wrote his own blog post refuting Swift's claim of bullying by Braun, and her claim that she did not find out about the sale of BMLG until it was announced to the world.
Swift's Tumblr post also stated that she was never given the opportunity to buy back her masters, instead being offered the chance to earn them back, one at a time, for each album she turned in under a new deal with Big Machine. According to Borchetta, however, had Swift signed a new, 10-year contract with the label, she would have immediately been given ownership of all previous music. Swift's lawyer later clarified in a statement: "Scott Borchetta never gave Taylor Swift an opportunity to purchase her masters, or the label, outright with a check in the way he is now apparently doing for others."
Although she was signed to Big Machine from the start of her career through the release of 2017's Reputation, Swift was never part of the Big Machine Music roster, having been signed to Sony / ATV Publishing since 2005. Because Swift's publishing deal is not tied to Big Machine, the plan to re-record her older music is viable.
BMLG could face a separate uphill battle in regards to future Swift releases, however: As Billboard explains, Big Machine could use a compulsory mechanical license to re-release music that Swift recorded while on the label, but may need Sony / ATV and/or Swift's approval to release previously unreleased music that she recorded with BMLG.
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