Here’s Why You Haven’t Heard Taylor Swift Songs in Movies and Ads Yet

Whether you’re a fan of Taylor Swift and her songs or not, there’s simply no avoiding her music. With seven albums under her belt, spanning several different musical genres, you likely know at least one of her songs by heart. From the catchy repetition of “Shake It Off” to the sheer nostalgia of “Tim McGraw,” Swift has a talent for making music that people keep coming back to. Between her talents as a lyricist and her incredible marketing skills, there’s simply no escaping her discography completely. However, Swift’s music still hasn’t been used to its full potential.

Taylor Swift song
Taylor Swift | Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP

For all of Swift’s success, it’s still very rare that we see her music featured in commercials or films. However, it’s not because there’s a lack of offers. Rather, it’s a strategic move on Swift’s part to maintain agency over the work that she has created over the years. Fans of Swift know that the singer has written or co-written each and every one of the songs she sings since her debut self-titled album. This is perhaps why she feels so strongly about owning the masters for her music.

Taylor Swift vs. Scooter Braun & Scott Borchetta

Over the past few months, Swift has been in a bitter tussle with her former record label, Big Machine Records. According to Swift, part of the reason she left the label was because she wasn’t able to own her music. Things escalated when Scooter Braun purchased the label from its previous owner, Scott Borchetta. Swift maintains that Braun bullied her over the years and Borchetta knew that was the case and still opted to sell the label (which includes Swift’s masters) to him. Meanwhile, Borchetta maintains that Swift knew about the sale ahead of time and that she is creating and circulating a false narrative.

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Claws out, kitties.

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In a recent interview with Billboard, Swift opened up about her masters. She maintained that she was leading the fight over music ownership not just for herself but for other artists as well. “We need to think about how we handle master recordings, because this isn’t it. When I stood up and talked about this, I saw a lot of fans saying, ‘Wait, the creators of this work do not own their work, ever?’ 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,” she began.

The Lover artist wants to fight for musicians

Swift continued on to share that she would’ve paid a ridiculous amount of money to actually own the music that she created. “I want to at least raise my hand and say, ‘This is something that an artist should be able to earn back over the course of their deal — not as a renegotiation ploy — and something that artists should maybe have the first right of refusal to buy.’ God, I would have paid so much for them! Anything to own my work that was an actual sale option, but it wasn’t given to me,” the Lover artist confessed.

But, despite not owning her first six albums, Swift has found a way to maintain control of her art. Not only is she planning on re-recording her first six albums, but she also has a tremendous amount of control because she is the writer behind her songs. Though Swift has offers weekly to use her music in films and television, she rejects all of them until such a time where she does gain full ownership of the songs.

Why Taylor Swift songs aren’t in movies

“Thankfully, there’s power in writing your music. Every week, we get a dozen synch requests to use “Shake It Off” in some advertisement or “Blank Space” in some movie trailer, and we say no to every single one of them. And the reason I’m rerecording my music next year is because I do want my music to live on. 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,” the “I Did Something Bad” singer confessed. Swift has plans to re-record her albums next year, so perhaps fans can look forward to hearing her music in films in 2021.