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Taylor Swift has a plan to regain control of her back catalog.
In an interview with Tracy Smith on CBS Sunday Morning, the music superstar revealed that she intends to rerecord her songbook to offset the controversial $300 million deal between Scooter Braun and Big Machine Label Group founder Scott Borchetta that put earlier versions of her masters in the hands of Braun.
Following the news that Braun’s Ithaca Holdings had acquired Big Machine Label Group, and with it the entire catalog Swift released through Borchetta’s label, the singer-songwriter took to Tumblr to share why she was upset with the deal and directly addressed Braun and Borchetta. Swift referred to the deal as her “worst case scenario” and notes that she learned of the deal “as it was announced to the world,” and that the news immediately brought her back to “the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at [Braun’s] hands for years.”
Borchetta responded to Swift’s fighting words in his own post, titled “So, it’s time for some truth…,” in which he wrote that her father, Scott Swift, is a shareholder in Big Machine and was notified of a call with shareholders taking place June 25, saying that all shareholders were notified of the pending deal with Ithaca. Borchetta also argued that Swift and her attorney Don Passman went over the document in great detail and talked through the deal together, where he alleges she rejected the deal in favor of moving her business to Universal Music Group.
“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,” Passman told The Hollywood Reporter about that aspect of the dispute. Swift’s rep also denied Borchetta’s claim, telling People the singer learned of the news when she woke up to news articles.
In the in-depth interview, Swift tells Smith that despite contrary reports from Big Machine officials, she learned of the deal “when it was online” and heard nothing from anyone on her team about it.
“I found out when it hit online,” she said, also sharing that “nobody” in her team knew of the deal. She also says she had no inclination that a deal between Borchetta and Braun was taking place.
“I knew he would sell my music. I knew he would do that,” Swift explained. “I couldn’t believe who he sold it to because we had endless conversations about Scooter Braun and he has 300 million convenient reasons to forget those conversations.”
When Smith asked whether Swift would try to rerecord her early music, the singer responded, “Oh yeah.”
“That’s a plan?” Smith asks to which Swift says, “Yeah, absolutely.”
Appearing on Good Morning America for a live interview and performance on Thursday, Swift again spoke about re-recording her music, telling host Robin Roberts, when Roberts asked if what Swift had said about “planning to re-record some of [her] music” is “true,” “That’s true and that’s something that I’m very excited about doing.”
Following news of Braun’s deal, stars such as Halsey, Cher and Iggy Azalea showed support for Swift on social media, with Kelly Clarkson encouraging Swift to rerecord her early songs. Several music industry lawyers told Billboard in June that standard recording agreements have a rerecording restriction that prohibits an artist from remaking a song that was previously delivered to the record company (sometimes even ones that were not released during the contract’s duration), but only for a set period after the deal expires, a term that typically runs three to five years.
Swift spoke about her contract on GMA, saying that “My contract says that starting November 2020, so next year, I can record albums one through five all over again. … It’s next year. It’s right around the corner. I’m going to be busy. I’m really excited.”
“I just think that artists deserve to own their work. I just feel very passionately about that,” she added.
Swift’s interview with Smith is set to air in full Sunday at 9 a.m. ET/PT on CBS. The interview arrives amid the release of Swift’s anticipated new album Lover, which will bow Friday. To celebrate the release, Smith will also give an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Swift’s new music video and for the release of her new single. Watch her GMA appearance below.
Aug. 21, 2:31 p.m. Updated with reference to Billboard’s story about rerecording restrictions in standard contracts.
Aug. 22, 7:01 a.m. Updated with Swift’s additional GMA comments.
Aug. 25, 7:15 a.m Updated with additional Swift comments from interview.
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