TSFers — I have a confession. I like Taylor Swift’s music. Not so much that I’m counting down the minutes until RED (Taylor’s Version) releases at midnight like some, but enough that I’m willing to put it out there to the internet and will listen to the re-release with my girlfriend without complaint.
Taylor Swift has some really, really good songs. Her most recent albums, folklore and evermore had some absolute bangers. Looking back over her discography, I’ve realized that a bunch of her hit songs from when I was too young, insecure, and naive to admit that I liked them were pretty darn good, too.
Sidenote: Taylor Swift is re-recording all her albums because she doesn’t own the rights to the masters (originals) of all her songs recorded before her contract with Big Machine Records expired in 2018. A private equity group, Ithaca Holdings, owned by Scooter Braun (whose name you have probably heard from this dispute and the music industry), bought Big Machine. Shamrock Holdings, the holding company controlled by the estate of Roy Disney (Walt’s nephew) bought the masters in 2020, but not before a very public dispute between Swift and Braun where she tried to buy the masters .
Her goal in re-recording is to control her music, as she says. Whenever one of the originals plays on the radio, Spotify, wherever, whoever owns the master gets a residual. She wants to change that — re-recording her songs means she can exert her considerable clout in music to encourage platforms to play her versions, not the ones that put money in someone else’s pocket. She frames it as wresting power away from the industry and giving it back to the artists, but clearly she has a financial stake in it, too (not that she needs the money). I’m not here to pass judgment.
But I digress. The driver of this morning’s musings is to like what you like and be proud of it. I spent years worrying that a twenty-something dude would be judged and mocked for enjoying Taylor Swift music. Life is too short to care what other people think about you, at least when it comes to trivial stuff like music taste. I could have been rocking out to “Trouble” in my car and at the bars for years. Don’t make the same mistake I did (I hope you can visualize the wry smile here). If you want to, turn RED (Taylor’s Version) up to 11 and have the time of your life.