By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief
On Friday April 9, Taylor Swift released Fearless (Taylor’s Version), a re-recording of her second studio album initially released in 2008. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is the first of six re-recorded albums expected to be released over the coming year.
The masters of Swift’s six studio albums were acquired by talent manager Scooter Braun in 2019 as part of his acquisition of Big Machine Records before they were sold to an investment company in 2020. Swift has been vocal about the fact that during the acquisition of her masters, she was offered the opportunity to bid on her masters, on the condition that she sign an NDA regarding discussing Braun in public. Swift declined.
Following the incident, Swift began re-recording her catalog in November 2020 before announcing in February 2021 that she had completed the re-recording of her second album Fearless.
Taylor Swift was one of the biggest artists to speak about the rights of artists to have the first choice over who owns their music. Although re-recording music is not unheard of, Swift’s public battle has opened the discussion further amongst artists battling for the right to own their own music.
Re-recording is not as simple as it may appear, however. Clauses are often worked into record deals to prevent the artist from re-recording their work between three and seven years after their initial release. The clause in Swift’s initial record deal with Big Machine Records meant that she had to wait until November 2020 to begin re-recording her work, in order to avoid breaking her agreement with Big Machine Records.
Artists must also own the publishing rights of their songs, meaning they would have to have written the songs themselves; for an artist like Swift, who is well-known for writing her own lyrics, this wouldn’t be a problem. But, for some lesser-known artists, it’s likely the issue of owning the publishing rights of their songs would cause setbacks in the battle to own their own work.
The re-recordings of Taylor Swift’s work and the success of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) will no doubt encourage many other artists who have faced a similar experience to Swift to fight back and own their own work.
For big, global artists like Taylor Swift, these re-recordings will be successful, and Swift will finally begin the journey to owning her own masters of songs. While these re-recordings may encourage other artists to take the incentive and do the same, there is always the risk their work won’t be as successful.
There is also the potential, as warned by the Independent, that some artists may cash in on the idea of re-recording their work in order to profit from their fans, by publishing re-recordings which would not be the same standard as the initial work.
However, Swift’s public battle to own her own work does suggest there is the opportunity for others to do the same. Although Taylor Swift’s situation was extraordinary, her story of not having the opportunity to own her own music may be one many relate to. By beginning the re-recording process, Swift has shown that fighting for the right to own your own work is indeed a worthy fight.
Ar Ebrill 9, cyhoedd Taylor Swift ei albwm newydd, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), ag oedd yn ail-recordiad o’i ail albwm, a gyhoeddwyd yn wreiddiol yn 2008. Yr albwm yma yw’r cyntaf o chwech ganddi yn y cais i berchen ar ei chaneuon ei hun.
Prynwyd masters gwaith Taylor Swift gan Scooter Braun yn 2019 fel rhan o’i gytundeb i brynu Big Machine Records, label yr oedd Swift yn arfer perchen iddo. Yn ystod y cyfnod yma, nid oedd cyfle gan Swift i brynu ei chaneuon ei hun gan Braun a Big Machine Records, ond oedd ganddi’r cyfle i wneud cais am ei chaneuon, o dan y cyfyngiadau ei bod hi’n arwyddo cytundeb NDA i beidio trafod Braun a’r cytundeb. Penderfynodd Swift i beidio arwyddo’r cytundeb.
Wedi’r digwyddiad, dechreuodd Swift ail-recordio ei gwaith ym mis Tachwedd 2020 cyn iddi gyhoeddi ei bod wedi gorffen yr ail-recordiad ar Fearless.
Taylor Swift yw un o’r cerddorion fwyaf i drafod hawliau cerddorion i berchen ar waith eu hunain. Er nad yw ail-recordio cerddoriaeth yn rhywbeth newydd, dechreuodd ail-recordiadau Swift y drafodaeth am hawliau cerddorion.
Ond, nid yw ail-recordio mor hawdd â hynny. Fel rhan o gytundeb record, mae’n rhaid yn aml aros rhwng tua thair a saith blynedd cyn bod modd ail-recordio caneuon. Yn gytundeb gwreiddiol Swift o 2008, yr oedd rhaid iddi aros tan Dachwedd 2020 cyn oedd modd iddi ddechrau gweithio ar yr ail-recordiadau, fel nad oedd modd iddi dorri’i chytundeb gyda Big Machine Records.
Mae’n rhaid hefyd i gerddorion perchen ar eiriau eu hunain er mwyn gallu ail-recordio’r caneuon. I gerddor fel Swift, sy’n cael ei hadnabod fel rhywun sy’n ysgrifennu pob gair yn ei chaneuon, ni fydd berchen ar eiriau’r caneuon yn broblem. Ond, i rai llai adnabyddus, mae’n hollol bosib gall perchen ar eiriau’r caneuon gwrthod eu brwydr dros berchen ar eu caneuon eu hun.
Mae’n siŵr bydd ail-recordiadau Swift, a llwyddiant Fearless (Taylor’s Version) yn gallu annog cerddorion eraill sydd wedi dioddef yr un problemau â Swift i ail-recordio gwaith eu hun.
I gerddor llwyddiannus, poblogaidd fel Taylor Swift, bydd yr ail-recordiadau’n llwyddiannus, a gall Swift gweithio tuag at berchen ei masters ei hunain. Tra gall yr ail-recordiadau annog eraill i wneud pethau tebyg, ceir gwastad y risg na fydd eu gwaith mor llwyddiannus â’r tro cyntaf.
Mae gwastad y potensial, fel sonia’r Independent, gall rhai cerddorion defnyddio’r syniad o ail-recordio eu gwaith er mwyn cymryd elw gan eu cefnogwyr am waith sydd yn waeth na’r wreiddiol.
Er bod sefyllfa Taylor Swift yn benodol iawn, mae’r sefyllfa yn un gall nifer uniaethu gydag ef. Gan ddechrau’r broses o ail-recordio, mae Swift wedi dangos bod brwydro am yr hawl i berchen ar eich caneuon eich hun yn frwydr mae’n rhaid ei gael.