As if Taylor Swift hadn’t done enough to prove her impeccable business savviness and ability to tap exactly into what her fans want, it seems evident that she felt the world needed a firm reminder.
On Friday, Feb. 12 Swift re-released a newly recorded version of her top-charting mega-hit “Love Story,” now titled “Love Story (Taylor’s Version).” The song originally debuted on Sept. 12, 2008 as the lead single from Swift’s sophomore album “Fearless” and received a great amount of critical acclaim. The original single went on to become one of the best-selling singles in history with 18 million copies sold worldwide.
This release comes after Swift’s announcement in August of 2019 that she would be re-recording her first six studio albums, all of which were recorded while she was signed to her original label, Big Machine Records. Earlier that same year, American businessman Scooter Braun purchased Swift’s former label and thus acquired the rights to all of her previous master recordings, something that Swift viewed as a personal slight given her rocky interactions with Braun in the past.
On July 30, 2019, Big Machine Records announced that Scooter Braun had purchased the label for $300 million. Only a few hours after this announcement, Taylor Swift took to Tumblr to voice her frustrations over the fact that she was not aware of the buyer and felt uncomfortable knowing that Braun now had the rights to her masters in his hands.
In November of 2018, Swift’s 13-year deal with Big Machine Records came to a close once she decided to forgo renewing her contract. This gave her the ability to sign with Republic Records, who promised Swift the ownership of her masters while under the label. According to Swift, she had begged and pleaded with her former label for the ownership of her masters but was never able to get anywhere with them.
Swift was disappointed with this purchase to say the least, given her past with Braun and some of his clients. She felt as if Braun had made a point of publicly bullying her. This included a situation where Justin Bieber posted a photo to Instagram of him and Braun FaceTiming with Kanye West after the infamous release of West’s single “Famous,” which directly mentioned Swift and claimed that West was partially responsible for her rise to fame.
The new release also comes after a period of Swift releasing “surprise albums” from July to December of 2020, a promotional move that Taylor saw fit with the uncertainty of a COVID-19 world. The albums, “Folklore” and “Evermore,” did not have any marketing campaigns prior to their release, with Swift opting to wait until hours before each album dropped to spill the beans to her fans.
Both were met with critical and commercial praise. “Folklore” set the world record for biggest opening day on Spotify for an album by a female act. These releases followed a trend in the music industry of high-powered stars releasing secret albums and allowing the hype of the surprise release to act as a form of promotion for the albums themselves.
The release of “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” garnered 5.8 million streams on its first day of release. This is another triumph for Swift considering that there were only 55 songs that amassed more streams within a week than Swift’s single did in one day. Many critics praised the newly recorded single, noting Swift’s matured vocals, the added depth and higher quality of the recording. While Swift stayed true to the original recording, the subtle differences were enough for listeners to take a bittersweet sigh and recall the innocence of the original from 2008.
Taylor Swift’s “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” is due to be released on April 9, 2021 through Republic Records.
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