Earlier this summer, A-list manager Scooter Braun‘s company Ithaca Holdings purchased Taylor Swift‘s former record label Big Machine Group, acquiring the rights to the master recordings of Swift’s first six albums. Swift has heavily criticized the sale, and in a new interview with CBS, set to air in full on Sunday, the pop star revealed plans to undermine the deal by rerecording her early music and releasing the new versions outside Braun’s control.
“Might you do that?” reporter Tracy Smith asked, per a press release. “Oh yeah,” Swift said. “That’s a plan?” Smith responded. “Yeah, absolutely,” Swift said.
It would be a dramatic chess move. Braun reportedly paid over $300 million to acquire Big Machine, and the company has already taken steps to monetize Swift’s old music with a limited-edition vinyl release of several early singles on Aug. 30. Swift, meanwhile, called the deal her “worst case scenario” in an open letter criticizing Braun, who has worked with her past nemeses Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West.
Big Machine only owns Swift’s master recordings, so in theory she could record new versions of her songs, and Kelly Clarkson even suggested the idea last month. Releasing them, of course, would force fans to choose between the versions they know and love and slightly different records that more directly line Swift’s pockets. Nobody said being a Swiftie would offer insulation from the complicated moral choices of the free market.
In new music news, Swift’s next album Lover, her first since leaving Big Machine, is out this Friday. It features the singles “ME!,” “You Need to Calm Down,” plus an unheard collaboration with the Dixie Chicks.