In June 2019, Taylor Swift’s master recording rights to her first six albums were sold without her knowledge when Scooter Braun fully took over the Big Machine Label Group via his media holding company Ithaca Holdings LLC. Seven months prior, Swift declined to sign a new recording contract with Big Machine and, instead, left to sign a direct label agreement with Universal Music Group. With UMG, Swift would be able to own all of her masters, something she was denied with Big Machine despite asking to purchase them on multiple occasions.
There was one opportunity she was given to sign back with Big Machine, but she would have to “‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in,” Swift said via her Tumblr page June 30, 2019. She ultimately declined. In the same post, Swift said she made peace with her decision knowing that “eventually he would sell them,” but found out they were under new ownership when the rest of the world did. Unfortunately, in October 2020, they were sold again without her knowing to the private equity company Shamrock Holdings. After explaining a potential partnership with Shamrock didn’t work out due to Swift finding out Braun would still be profiting off whatever they did with the masters, she confirmed she would be going forward with her re-recording schedule.
In her Billboard Woman of the Decade article, referring to re-recording, Swift said, “I do want my music to live on … but I only want that if I own it.” There was no public knowledge regarding the specifics of Swift’s re-recording process before December 2020, but when Ryan Reynolds used a part of “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” for a commercial he wrote, fans were ecstatic. Then, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Swift announced the full version of the classic hit was to be released at midnight Feb. 12. She also revealed all of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was done and would include six unheard From the Vault tracks. She included a digital letter to her fans with clues hidden throughout to reveal the album’s April 9 release date. Two of the ‘Vault’ songs, “You All Over Me” featuring Maren Morris and “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” were later released as singles, and the rest were revealed via a video for fans to decode. It’s safe to say she's been having a marvelous time with this release.
This is the second time Taylor Swift has been the subject of one of my columns, and I would be lying if I said I’m not a huge fan. I’m ecstatic about this album, and it's all I’ve been listening to since it came out. It has the same nostalgic feeling as the original but with the added bonus of being able to hear how much Swift’s voice has matured since the original recordings.
My family is pretty well-versed in the world of Taylor Swift because of how much of a fan I am and, therefore, have heard me listen to her music on repeat and talk about each release nonstop over the years. She has yet to be met with much resistance in our household, so I anticipated neutral if not positive reviews. Here’s what they said:
Mom: Our household must not have been bombarded by Fearless way back when as much as the other albums. I don’t remember most of these songs! But it's classic Taylor. Tate and I saw the “Speak Now Tour,” and I didn't know what to expect, but I remember being impressed with how flawless the entire concert was. This reminds me of that. Good for her for taking back her music. Nine out of 10.
Dad: It’s good — very Taylor. Not mind-blowing because it’s not my go-to music, but I love how she has influenced Tate from the time she was 6, and I've been listening to her hum along to her tunes ever since. Eight out of 10.
Brother: Good texture. Eight out of 10.
If nothing else, I think more people have grasped Swift’s brilliance with what she’s already accomplished with this album. Within the album’s first 24 hours, she became the first female country artist to have an album reach No. 1 on the U.S. Apple Music chart and the first overall on the UK Apple Music chart. The album surpassed 500,000 worldwide sales, becoming her ninth album to do so in its first week, including the original Fearless. She also scored all top 10 spots on the Apple Music country songs chart, and it’s currently on its way to potentially becoming her seventh No. 1 album on the Official UK Albums Chart. The From the Vault tracks are another stroke of genius, giving fans something new to love while also being an incentive to choose Taylor’s Version over the original. Now, Swifties around the globe will be placing their bets on which re-recorded album will be released next while absorbing every sound from this one.
Tate Raub is a freshman studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Tate? Tweet her @tatertot1310.