Taylor Swift not only reignites the nostalgic music of our teenage years, but brings awareness to the challenges many artists face in the industry.
By Isabelle Delostrinos
The re-release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) isn’t as simple as you think it is. If you aren’t already a Swiftie, then you most likely don’t know about the drama that went down in November of last year. Here’s my attempt at summarizing what happened to catch you up to speed.
Taylor Swift first released Fearless at the age of 18 in 2009. As she was touring around the country for the promotion of her first album, Taylor Swift, she created this second hit album while being on the road. With more time spent on the road, Swift was unable to collaborate and work on Fearless with other artists. She led the songwriting process for all thirteen songs and even made her debut as co-producer.
Fearless is one of the strongest bodies of work that Swift has put out. It quickly became the best selling album in the US, making Swift the youngest artist in history to accomplish the standard. It also became the most decorated album in country music history, winning awards from the Grammys, American Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards and many more. Hit songs like You Belong With Me, Love Story, Fifteen and White Horse also from this release. This album contributed to popular culture in many ways. Fearless broke the boundaries between country and pop, and Swift flawlessly merged the two genres together. So many years after it’s time, Swift should be the one holding the rights to her early work.
Unfortunately, the music industry has always had a bad history of taking advantage of artists. From The Beatles to Prince to Iggy Azalea and many more, these artists struggled to earn the profits they deserved, let alone have control over what they created. Prince protested his Warner Bros. contract by performing onstage with the word “slave” written on cheek. Lil Kim was restricted from making and releasing music during her court battle with her record label. The court case dragged out for a year and half, which kept fans waiting with no explanation and Lil Kim’s inability to make money the entire time. Pop artist, Jojo, struggled to break free from a record label that signed her at twelve years old. As of 2017, the artist finally was released and created her own music label where she remastered her hits from the early 2000s.
The challenges that artists face are not talked about enough. By reclaiming her music, Taylor Swift brings awareness to the unfair business contracts that many artists struggle with. The re-release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) gives Swift the ownership she deserves from her work. Now, Swift has the power over all of the songs on Fearless (Taylor’s Version) to be used in movies, TV shows, as a sample or anything she wishes to do with it. She also receives the maximum amount of profits from it. So if you’re ever in the mood for a Taylor Swift throwback moment, make sure it’s Taylor’s version.
Ryan Ford '23,