Echoes of Copyright Reform

Taylor Swift's "Taylor's Version" and the Resounding Call for Artistic Ownership Policy

Published by

Erinna Nong


October 13, 2023

Inquiry-driven, this article reflects personal views, aiming to enrich problem-related discourse.

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Taylor Swift's "Taylor's Version" and the Resounding Call for Artistic Ownership Policy

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No artist's battle for copyright has captured as much global attention as Taylor Swift's in recent years. When she unveiled a re-recording titled "Taylor's Version," it wasn't just a music release but a call to action clarifying artists everywhere about the importance of owning their work—and not just about music for Swift; It‘s about freedom property, and the very value of artistic creativity. The move not only shed light on her journey but also highlighted a broader conversation important to any creator: the critical importance of copyright. Through the lens of Swift's courageous act, this article delves into why copyright and intellectual property rights matter to musicians and creators and the challenges and triumphs they face in navigating the complex fabric of artistic ownership.


With its rich history and cultural significance, the music industry has long been a double-edged sword for artists. On one hand, it gave a voice to generations of musicians, allowing them to reach a global audience and leave an indelible mark on society. Conversely, it’s an industry often criticized for handling artists’ rights and royalties.

Central to this discussion is the concept of ‘master recording.’ The owner is the original version of the song or album and is responsible for licensing, reproduction, distribution, public performance rights, public display rights, adaptation rights, and digital transmission rights. Historically, record labels have retained ownership of these owners in return for a fraction of the revenue generated by their music.

Enter Taylor Swift. As a teenage country singer, Swift was signed to the record label Big Machine and produced six chart-topping albums under their banner. Little did she know that this partnership would set the stage for one of the music industry’s most publicized copyright battles. In 2019, this issue culminated when Big Machine sold the entire inventory, including all Swift owners up to that point, to a private equity fund, Shamrock Holdings, led by Scooter Braun – a move that Swift disagrees with.

Feeling robbed of her life's work and wanting to regain control, Swift re-recorded her albums. It was a bid to not only take back financial power but also preserve her artistic narrative's integrity. This move was, in many ways, Swift’s response to an age-old industry problem, but with a modern twist that was quintessential 'Taylor.'

The Power and Importance of Copyright

At its core, copyright is a safety beacon designed to provide creators with rights to intellectual property, not just for the music industry. But what does this mean for all artists, and why is it essential in shaping their careers and legacies?

  • Setting a precedent: Artists who stand up for their copyrights and intellectual property rights protect their interests and can pave the way for others in the industry. When well-known designers establish themselves, they often influence industry norms, making it easier for emerging talent to retain the rights to their creations.
  • Financial Empowerment: Copyright ownership translates directly into economic benefits. When artists retain their creation rights, they are entitled to royalties from sales, streaming, radio play, and licensing agreements and are guaranteed to be paid fairly for their work. With these opportunities, artists get a tiny share of the budget for music.
  • Artistic Control: Copyright affects not only the artist’s wallet but also their creative integrity. Being an owner means having a say in how the work is run and delivered. For many people, it is vital to ensure that their art is not used in contexts that are unfairly relevant or incompatible with their values.
  • Legacy Protection: Artists pour their lives into their work and aim to leave an indelible mark on the world. Their creative copyright ensures that they, or their legacies, can protect and preserve their legacy and decide how their work will be remembered and shared with future generations.

But this isn't a new conflict. Artists and Prince, who infamously changed his call to an unplayable image, fought towards music for comparable motives. The Beatles discovered that the rights to their original songs slipped through their hands, mainly due to a long time of seeking to recover the piece. Swift's War is a modern-day chapter in a long saga, highlighting artists' ongoing demanding situations in an unexpectedly changing musical landscape.

The consequences are even more significant in the virtual age, where the track is greater on hand than ever. There is an ongoing balance of power among artists and enterprise giants, and copyright stays significant to this evolving dynamic. But this isn't a new war. Artists, including Prince, who infamously modified his work to an unplayable image, fought in opposition to music for comparable motives. The Beatles discovered that the rights to their original songs slipped through their arms, leading to a long time of looking to recover the piece. Swift's War is a cutting-edge chapter in an extended saga, highlighting artists' ongoing challenges in an unexpectedly changing musical panorama.

"Taylor's Version": A Stand for Artistic Rights

When Taylor Swift announced her aim to re-document her preceding albums, it became clear this wasn't just an enterprise maneuver but an ambitious assertion in an enterprise where artists regularly locate their voices drowned out via contractual lovely print and corporate pastimes.

  • Reclaiming Autonomy: By re-recording her song, Swift sought to regain the manipulation over the very themes that chronicled her lifestyle's adventure. "Taylor's Version" isn't only a label—it indicates her reclaiming her artistic and financial narrative.
  • A Symbolic Gesture: Swift's decision to revisit her earlier works became more than just about regaining economic rights. It was a symbolic act of defiance towards an industry acknowledged for prioritizing earnings over artists. Her actions underscored the message that art and the memories behind it belong, first and foremost, to the artist.
  • Unprecedented Support: Swift's "Taylor's Version" releases had been met with overwhelming aid, both significantly and commercially. This isn't just a testament to her enduring recognition but a clean message from fanatics worldwide: they stand by the way of the artist and the integrity of her work. By choosing "Taylor's Version" over the unique releases, enthusiasts actively collaborate in a motion emphasizing artist rights.
  • Inspiring Others: Taylor Swift's stand suggests that other artists—each setup and rising—recognize and endorse their rights. Her adventure is a cautionary tale and a beacon of hope, proving that artists can mission the status quo with dedication and rewrite the game's guidelines.
  • Changing the Industry's Tune: The repercussions of Swift's move will likely be felt for future years. As more artists recognize the potential and advantages of maintaining control over their work, the industry may be compelled to reconsider traditional artist-label dynamics. Destiny could see more equitable deals, ensuring that artists are not simply the face and voice but also the key decision-makers of their musical careers.

In a world where music is so intricately woven into the material of our lives, the war for creative rights isn't always just an enterprise difficulty—it is a cultural one. Swift's stand with "Taylor's Version" reminds us that behind every track is a story that belongs to the artist who penned it.

Key Performance Stats of the Re-recorded Albums

The rise of Taylor Swift's re-recorded albums has given her fans, Swifties, a renewed opportunity to relish her iconic songs with a fresh touch. Here’s a comprehensive overview of Taylor Swift’s endeavor to re-record her catalog, highlighting the immense success of the re-recorded albums compared to the originals:

Equivalent Album Units:

  • "Fearless (Taylor’s Version)," released on April 9, 2021, has accumulated 1.81 million equivalent album units since its release, according to Luminate. In contrast, the 2008 version of "Fearless" managed 535,000 units over the same period.
  • "Red (Taylor’s Version)," released on Nov. 12, 2021, garnered 3.32 million units, significantly outpacing the original 2012 "Red" which earned 390,000 units. 
  • “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” released on July 7, 2023, earned 575,000 album-equivalent units within its first four days, marking the most significant consumption and sales week for an album in 2023, as well as the second-largest vinyl sales week in US history.


  • "Fearless (Taylor’s Version)" raked in 1.47 billion on-demand song streams, dwarfing the original album's 680.39 million streams after the re-recording's release.
  • "Red (Taylor’s Version)" achieved 2.86 billion streams, outshining the original "Red" which acquired 476.48 million streams.
  • “Speak Now (Taylor's Version)” received 126.3 million streams on its opening day on Spotify, breaking the records for the most single-day streams for any album in 2023 and a country album ever. It also became the second most-streamed album by a female artist in a single day, behind Swift's Midnights (2022).


  • "Fearless (Taylor’s Version)" boasted 737,000 copies sold, while the original sold only 41,000 in the same time frame.
  • "Red (Taylor’s Version)" is nearing the 1 million sales mark, selling 950,000 copies. The original 2012 "Red" only sold 45,000 copies after the re-recording's release.
  • “Speak Now (Taylor's Version)” earned over 400,000 album sales within the first four days and debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 with 716,000 units, including the 507,000 album sales (of which 268,500 were vinyl LPs), earning the most significant week for a country album since December 2014.

Billboard 200 Chart Presence:

  • "Fearless (Taylor’s Version)" has spent 110 total weeks on the Billboard 200 at the time of writing.
  • "Red (Taylor’s Version)"  marked 92 total weeks on the chart at the time of writing.
  • “Speak Now (Taylor's Version)” has been on the Billboard 200 for six weeks at the time of writing.

The massive success of these re-recorded albums emphasizes Taylor Swift’s enduring popularity, the robust support of her fan base, and their preference for her re-recorded tracks over the originals.

Broader Implications for Creators

Taylor Swift's "Taylor's Version" is more significant than a personal crusade—it's a watershed moment with profound implications for creators across the board. Beyond the world of pop tracks, her stand illuminates important instructions and opportunities for artists in various fields.

  • Evolving Industry Standards: Swift's actions and the following public discourse may catalyze a shift in industry norms. Record labels, publishers, and production organizations may now be under expanded scrutiny to provide fairer offers, ensuring artists retain extra management over their intellectual assets.
  • Educating New Artists: Swift’s tale is a stark reminder of the importance of expertise contracts for rising skills. It stresses the significance of criminal literacy and highlights the need for early-profession artists to prioritize long-term rights over quick gains. Understanding the intricacies of contracts and securing sound legal advice can significantly impact an artist's future, ensuring they retain control over their creative output and receive fair compensation throughout their career.
  • Empowerment to Reclaim Rights: For artists who've misplaced management over their creations, Swift's journey offers a capacity roadmap to reclaiming business enterprise. While now only some artists have the same assets or fan base as Swift, her stand may encourage creators to discover avenues to renegotiate, buy back, or, if feasible, re-create their artworks.
  • The Role of Fan and Consumer Advocacy: The success of "Taylor's Version" is as great a deal approximately patron picks as it's miles about Swift's expertise. It underlines the role lovers play in shaping enterprise dynamics. With informed selections, purchasers can champion artists, favoring versions or products that ethically gain the creators.
  • A Global Ripple Effect: While the maximum distinguished discussions revolved across the U.S. Track enterprise, Swift's stand resonates worldwide. Artists around the sector face similar challenges, and her tale ought to inspire movements in one-of-a-kind areas, pushing for higher neighborhood copyright laws and fairer enterprise practices.
  • Implications Beyond Music: The core troubles—ownership, enterprise, and honest repayment—are not distinctive to the tune itself. Filmmakers, authors, visible artists, and creators in several domain names grapple with similar challenges. Swift's narrative gives a precedent and verbal exchange starter for artists in different fields to rally for their rights.

In essence, "Taylor's Version" has amplified a discourse that transcends the singer-songwriter herself. It's a clarion call that champions the rights of creators anywhere, urging industries to apprehend and feel the heartbeat at the back of each advent—the artist.


The saga of Taylor Swift and her audacious pass to re-file her albums is more significant than only a headline. It's a chapter in a far larger narrative about artistic integrity, possession, and the ceaseless push and pull among creators and commercial pursuits. In a technology where content material is eaten up voraciously and frequently fleetingly, Swift's "Taylor's Version" reminds us to pause and recollect the arms that craft the artwork, the tales behind the melodies, and the rights of individuals who breathe life into our favorite songs.

What Swift has accomplished is not just for her benefit but for every artist who has ever felt overshadowed by the massive and complicated structures of the industry. By placing the significance of copyrights beneath the spotlight, she's reignited a global conversation about public perception of artwork and those who create it.

The “Taylor’s Version” project is a beacon for each budding musician signing their first deal, creator delivering their manuscript, or filmmaker liberating their debut mission. It's a name to stay informed, to understand one's actual worth, and to fight for one's creations. Because, as Swift's adventure underscores, the artist's touch makes the arena sing within the tricky dance of artwork and trade.

Erinna Nong

Vice President, Marketing

Originally from China and raised in Irvine, California, Erinna Nong is a student at Santa Monica College with a deep-seated passion for policy, media, and music.

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