Taylor Swift has been threatening for over a year to re-record all her old music in order to stick it to Scooter Braun. Even though Braun recently sold the masters to Swift’s pre-Lover material, he’s still profiting off them, so Swift isn’t backing down. In fact, she’s already making moves with updated versions of her classic tracks, as she recently lent her re-recorded “Love Story” to Match for an ad written by Ryan Reynolds.
This all started in June 2019 when Braun’s Ithaca Holdings LLC bought Big Machine Records, picking up the masters for Swift’s first six albums (her 2006 self-tilted debut through 2017’s Reputation) in the deal. Swift called the sale her “worst case scenario,” noting the “manipulative bullying I’ve received at [Braun’s] hands for years.” Last month, Braun resold the masters to investment fund Shamrock Holdings, but retained a royalties share that will allow him to profit off Swift’s back catalog for years to come.
Well, he’s not getting a cent of this Match money. Created by Reynolds, the ad for the dating website finds Satan himself matching with his perfect companion: the personification of 2020. As the two feed each other hot peppers in an empty football stadium and steal toilet paper from movie theater bathrooms, Swift’s re-recording of “Love Story” plays on. The song is essentially identical to the version crossover hit from 2008’s Fearless, with the one exception being Swift’s noticeably more seasoned singing chops.
Of course, that’s the entire point of these new recordings: By keeping them as close to the originals as possible, Swift devalues the old masters. Whoever owns those originals can’t license the music for syncs in movies or advertisements without the publishing rights, which Swift still owns. So essentially, once Swift is done re-recording all her old records, Shamrock’s ability to create new revenue streams with the original masters will be pretty much null — which in turn hurts Braun’s bottom line.
In sharing the tease of her new “Love Story”, Swift tweeted, “Okay so while my new re-records are NOT done, my friend @VancityReynolds asked me if he could use a snippet of one for a LOLsome commercial he wrote so…here’s a sneak peak of Love Story! Working hard to get the music to you soon!!”
Take a look at the ad below.
Not involved in this ownership fiasco are the pair of LPs Swift has released since signing with Universal Music Group in 2018: Lover and folklore. She also recently debuted the folklore: the long pond studio sessions performance film and live album, both of which see her performing with Jack Antonoff, The National’s Aaron Dessner, and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.
Okay so while my new re-records are NOT done, my friend @VancityReynolds asked me if he could use a snippet of one for a LOLsome commercial he wrote so…here’s a sneak peak of Love Story! Working hard to get the music to you soon!! https://t.co/0vBFXxaRXR
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) December 2, 2020
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 2, 2020