Taylor Swift Says She Would’ve Paid ‘So Much’ For Her Masters

Taylor Swift is opening up about the ongoing fight to own her master recordings.

In a new interview with Billboard magazine published on Dec. 11, 2019, Swift, who released her seventh studio album, Lover, in Aug. 2019, and recently debuted a holiday song, “Christmas Tree Farm,” on Dec. 6, 2019, explained why she’s speaking out for musicians’ rights. 

Swift would’ve done ‘anything to own’ her ‘own work’ 

About to leave her 20s behind — the “You Need to Calm Down” singer turns 30 on Dec. 13, 2019, —  the publication named Swift Woman of the Decade. While discussing the last 10 years of her life and career, Swift touched on her very public fight with her former record label, Big Machine Records, and the music industry as a whole. 

Taylor Swift at the Jingle Bell Ball  on Dec. 8, 2019
Taylor Swift at the Jingle Bell Ball on Dec. 8, 2019 | Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images

“We need to think about how we handle master recordings because this isn’t it,” she said. “I spent 10 years of my life trying rigorously to purchase my masters outright and was then denied that opportunity, and I just don’t want that to happen to another artist if I can help it.” 

In June 2019, Swift told the world via a Tumblr post that Big Machine Records had bullied her and didn’t allow her the chance to buy her masters. She called out Scott Borchetta, CEO of the label and manager Scooter Braun by name. 

The saga continued as recently as Nov. 2019 when Swift claimed her former label blocked her from singing her past hits live at the American Music Awards. After some public back-and-forth, Swift performed her songs during the ceremony. 

And now, Swift shared that she would’ve done whatever she could, even paying an exorbitant fee, to own the rights to her masters.  

“God, I would have paid so much for them!” Swift said. “Anything to own my work that was an actual sale option, but it wasn’t given to me.”

Swift, who calls New York City home, certainly has the means to do so. She’s got an estimated net worth of $320 million

She will re-record old songs, wants ‘music to live on’

The 10-time Grammy winner is set to re-record and re-release her old songs as soon as her contract allows. That way she will control all of her music. When asked about the process and how long it will take Swift didn’t provide much in the way of details — “I don’t know!” — but she did say it’s going to mean a lot to her. 

“But it’s going to be fun, because it’ll feel like regaining a freedom and taking back what’s mine. When I created [these songs], I didn’t know what they would grow up to be,” she said. “Going back in and knowing that it meant something to people is actually a really beautiful way to celebrate what the fans have done for my music.”

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Swift continued, sharing more insight on the plan to revisit her past hits. 

“And the reason I’m rerecording my music next year is because I do want my music to live on,” Swift said. “I do want it to be in movies, I do want it to be in commercials. But I only want that if I own it.”

Swift controls Lover and her last album, Reputation, but not the rest. That means her eponymous first album released in 2006 and her subsequent works including Fearless, Speak Now, and Red aren’t under her control. They’re currently in the hands of Big Machine Records.

While Swift awaits the day she can re-record songs from her past, she’s gearing up for a festival-type concert tour for Lover.