Taylor Swift’s label reportedly setting stricter guidelines for re-recordings

Swift is currently in the process of recording new versions of her first six studio albums

Universal Music Group, the parent label of Taylor Swift, have reportedly set out new guidelines with regards to their artists re-recording old material.

Swift is currently in the process of re-recording her first six albums in an attempt to regain control of her master recordings after masters of her early records were sold off several times without her permission.

The re-recordings began with ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ earlier this year, with the second album, ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’, coming out last Friday (November 12).

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A new report from The Wall Street Journal claims that Universal have been setting up new agreements with its artists which, according to the report, “effectively double the amount of time that the contracts restrict an artist from rerecording their work.”

It continued: “Prior to Universal’s change, the industry’s standard rerecording restriction said an artist can’t rerecord until five years after the delivery of their last recording under the agreement, or two years from the end of the recording contract’s term, whichever is later.

“Universal’s new proposals increase those periods to seven and five years, respectively, and tack on another “seven year post period” to the end of the rerecording restriction during which the artist is barred from rerecording more than two songs.”

Despite the proximity with Swift’s high-profile series of re-recordings, a source with knowledge of the case tells The Wall Street Journal that the plans were set out before Swift began publicising her plan to re-record her first six albums.

Taylor Swift. Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Taylor Swift. Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Last year, Swift confirmed her plans to re-record songs from her first six records after music manager Scooter Braun and his media holding company, Ithaca Holdings LLC, acquired Swift’s old label, Big Machine Label Group, back in June 2019.

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Swift then confirmed last November that the ownership of her back catalogue has changed hands again for the second time within two years.

After news broke of Braun selling the rights to Swift’s music to the private equity company Shamrock Holdings in a $300million (£230m) deal, the singer shared a statement in which she said that the master recordings “were not for sale to me”.

“This was the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge,” Swift said. “The letter told me that they wanted to reach out before the sale to let me know, but that Scooter Braun had required that they make no contact with me or my team, or the deal would be off.” Swift’s statement claims that Braun will continue to profit from her catalogue “for many years”.

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