Kelly Clarkson’s Advice to Taylor Swift: Re-Record Old Songs
Kelly Clarkson on Saturday (Jul. 13) offered up some sage advice for fellow singer Taylor Swift—who has, of late, been in a fierce battle of words with her former record label, Big Machine, over the sale of her back catalog to industry mogul Scooter Braun.
Clarkson's idea for Swift is simple: Re-record her old songs that she no longer owns the masters on, and add some new "treats" (such as new artwork or some other incentive) to entice fans and encourage them to not purchase the old versions.
"I'd buy all of the new versions just to make a point," Clarkson noted. And, given the rabid loyalty of Swift's fanbase, it's not far off the mark to assume her millions of admirers would happily do the same.
The idea sounds brilliant in its simplicity, but could likely have some snags. As pointed out by industry publication Variety, a few artists have done this in the past, but were able to due to specific terms in their contracts. It is unlikely Swift has the contractual freedom to do so herself—as Variety notes, "most major-label contracts specifically stipulate re-recording restrictions, disallowing any such re-records for years after the artist’s deal expires."
Swift's ire is due to the fact that after leaving Big Machine, the label's head, Scott Borchetta did not afford a deal that allowed her to purchase her back catalog outright, so Swift chose to leave and allow her past work to be in Borchetta's hands. Borchetta then entered into a conglomerate deal (which included Swift's music) with Braun, a figure whom Swift claims has been abusive and bullying to her over the years.
Borchetta denied the accusations that he deliberately dealt with Braun to anger Swift. Numerous celebrities, including Justin Bieber and Halsey, have weighed in on the matter via social media. Swift has a new album, Lover, coming out Aug. 23.
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