Record labels seek to end “Taylor’s Version” re-recordings.

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Respected music industry insiders have revealed that major labels like Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment are instituting significant changes to contracts for new artists.

According to these reputable music lawyers, musicians are being advised to wait extended periods—up to 10, 15, or even 30 years—before considering re-recording albums after parting ways with their labels.


Re-recording, a process where musicians create new versions of songs they’ve previously released, is now subject to stringent regulations.

Notably, seasoned music lawyer Josh Karp expressed surprise at the new clauses found in Universal Music Group (UMG) contracts, attempting to negotiate their removal.


He questioned the need for additional restrictions beyond what had been customary in the industry.

Traditionally, artists were required to wait two years after the contract expiration or five to seven years from the original release date before re-releasing their work, making these new provisions a departure from standard practice.


While bans on re-recording have existed for some time, recent attention to this issue can be attributed in large part to Taylor Swift’s public battle over her masters.

These restrictions aim to prevent artists from re-recording the same songs while still under contract with a label or within a specified timeframe post-contract expiration, thereby maintaining exclusivity of the original recordings.


Record labels heavily invest in their signed musicians, considering their music catalogs as valuable assets.

To protect these investments and minimize risks, labels employ various tactics such as time limitations and exclusivity clauses.


Historically, musicians would occasionally re-record select songs or entire albums decades later, often driven by nostalgia.

However, Taylor Swift’s decision to re-record her back catalog is primarily motivated by ownership rather than sentimentality.


Following the controversial sale of Swift’s masters to Scooter Braun and subsequently to Shamrock Capital, Swift announced her intention to reclaim control by re-recording her first six albums.

Dubbed “Taylor’s Version,” these re-recordings aim to distinguish them from the original releases.


Swift also negotiated a groundbreaking deal with Universal Music Group, granting her unprecedented control over her compositions and recordings, thereby bolstering her income.

Swift’s efforts have proven immensely successful, catapulting her to billionaire status according to Forbes in October 2023.


With a significant portion of her wealth derived from touring and song royalties, the re-recordings have further bolstered her financial standing.

Notably, Swift’s re-recorded albums have debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, with “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” selling over 1.1 million copies in the United States within the first six days of release.

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