Taylor Swift's upcoming album is highly anticipated yet familiar to her millions of fans. On Friday, the singer-songwriter will release Red (Taylor's Version), a rerecording of her album Red that first dropped in 2012.
Swift announced the new version's release in June, making this her second rerecorded album so far. Along with the album rerelease, she'll also be dropping a short film to accompany the song All Too Well. (Keep reading to learn where and when you can watch that.)
What are the similarities and differences between the original Red album and Taylor's Version, and why is Swift rerecording her first six albums? Here's everything to know.
When is Red (Taylor's Version) coming out?
Swift's rerecorded version of Red drops Nov. 12. Initially, the album was slated for a Nov. 19 release, but the rollout was later bumped up by a week. Swift announced the upcoming release via social media on June 18.
"This will be the first time you hear all 30 songs that were meant to go on Red," she posted to Twitter. "And hey, one of them is even ten minutes long."
What's the tracklist for Red (Taylor's Version)?
On Aug. 5, the singer-songwriter posted a cryptic teaser video on social media with ominous background music and an image of a vault that swings open to reveal jumbled-up words. Savvy fans were quick to discover that the letters in the teaser were part of a crossword puzzle revealing the album's song titles.
After fans cracked the code, Swift confirmed the tracklist for Red (Taylor's Version) on social media.
"Congrats pals, you guessed the titles and ft. artists on Red (my version)," she posted to Twitter. "The vault tracks will ft. @ChrisStapleton,@phoebe_bridgers, @mistersmims & @edsheeran! I can't wait to dust off our highest hopes & relive these memories together."
On Nov. 5, Swift teased a short film for the track All Too Well, which shows a car driving down a road surrounded by trees changing in the fall. "November 12. Remember it," Swift tweeted. (The original All Too Well recording was never released as a single, but has nonetheless become a fan favorite.) The All Too Well short film will debut Friday at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) on YouTube.
Here are all the songs that'll be featured on Red (Taylor's Version):
- State of Grace (Taylor's Version)
- Red (Taylor's Version)
- Treacherous (Taylor's Version)
- I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor's Version)
- All Too Well (Taylor's Version)
- 22 (Taylor's Version)
- I Almost Do (Taylor's Version)
- We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor's Version)
- Stay Stay Stay (Taylor's Version)
- The Last Time (Featuring Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol) (Taylor's Version)
- Holy Ground (Taylor's Version)
- Sad Beautiful Tragic (Taylor's Version)
- The Lucky One (Taylor's Version)
- Everything Has Changed (Featuring Ed Sheeran) (Taylor's Version)
- Starlight (Taylor's Version)
- Begin Again (Taylor's Version)
- The Moment I Knew (Taylor's Version)
- Come Back...Be Here (Taylor's Version)
- Girl At Home (Taylor's Version)
- State of Grace (Acoustic Version) (Taylor's Version)
- Ronan (Taylor's Version)
- Better Man (Taylor's Version) (From the Vault)
- Nothing New (Featuring Phoebe Bridgers) (Taylor's Version) (From the Vault)
- Babe (Taylor's Version) (From the Vault)
- Message in a Bottle (Taylor's Version) (From the Vault)
- I Bet You Think About Me (Featuring Chris Stapleton) (Taylor's Version) (From the Vault)
- Forever Winter (Taylor's Version) (From the Vault)
- Run (Featuring Ed Sheeran) (Taylor's Version) (From the Vault)
- The Very First Night (Taylor's Version) (From the Vault)
- All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From the Vault)
So, why is Taylor Swift rerecording her albums?
Let's quickly go back to the beginning, when a 15-year-old Swift signed a record deal with newly formed Big Machine Label Group, headed by Scott Borchetta. As part of the agreement, Big Machine would own the master recordings of Swift's albums. (A master recording is a song's original recording, from which copies are made to be streamed, put on CDs, etc.)
In 2018, Swift shared that her new label would be Universal Music Group's Republic Records. As part of the deal, she'd be allowed to "own all of my master recordings that I make from now on," she wrote on social media.
Then, in June 2019, news hit that record executive Scooter Braun had purchased Big Machine Records for $300 million. As part of the acquisition, Braun's media company Ithaca Holdings gained Swift's six albums that she'd released under Big Machine, including rights to her masters.
Now, without getting too far into the world of celebrity drama, it's important to know that Braun and Swift historically haven't gotten along. Braun managed Kanye West during the saga in which West and wife Kim Kardashian West recorded a phone call with Swift in 2016. Swift claimed Braun bullied her following the circulation of the videos. (The full recordings were eventually released and showed that the footage West and his wife presented had been edited.)
Needless to say, Braun was not Swift's first choice for who should acquire her masters. Following the announcement, Swift wrote about the acquisition on Tumblr, saying: "For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and 'earn' one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future."
Swift added, "I learned about Scooter Braun's purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I've received at his hands for years. ... Now Scooter has stripped me of my life's work, that I wasn't given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it."
Swift notes that while she knew Borchetta would eventually sell her masters, "Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter." Borchetta responded in a post on Big Machine's site, writing, "Taylor had every chance in the world to own not just her master recordings, but every video, photograph, everything associated to her career. She chose to leave."
In August 2019, Swift told CBS News' Tracy Smith that she would rerecord the albums she'd released under Big Machine Records, and later tweeted about her intent to do so. This would allow her to own her body of work and give fans the option to stream and purchase songs that wouldn't put money in Braun's pocket. The rerecorded songs and albums are dubbed "Taylor's Version."
In November 2020, Swift shared that Braun had sold her music, videos and album art to private equity company Shamrock Holdings. According to Swift, as part of the agreement, "Braun will continue to profit off my old musical catalog for many years."
In April, Swift released her first album rerecording, Fearless (Taylor's Version). According to Billboard, Fearless (Taylor's Version) had 401,000 album sales in its first six months, compared to 14,000 album sales for the original 2009 recording of Fearless. The rerecorded album also earned 498 million on-demand streams during that time span, versus 148 million streams for the original album.
How is Swift allowed to rerecord her original albums?
In a 2019 tweet, Swift described rerecording her songs as something she's "both legally allowed to do and looking forward to." And during a Good Morning America interview earlier that year, Swift told Robin Roberts, "My contract says that starting November 2020 ... I can record albums one through five all over again."
Music attorney Rachel Stilwell told Rolling Stone in 2019 that, "Recording agreements almost always restrict artists from re-recording musical compositions embodied on the label's recordings for a number of years after the expiration of the recording agreement."
Stilwell further noted that contracts tend to ban rerecording songs until two years after agreements expire or five years after an album is commercially released. That's why in that GMA interview, Swift said that in November 2020, she'd only be able to rerecord her first five albums, and not yet her sixth, Reputation, which was released in 2017.
Which album will Swift be rerecording next?
It's anyone's guess. Some fans are betting Swift's fifth studio album 1989 is next, since the artist posted to Twitter. Fans were surprised Swift was willing to offer up a track from a rerecorded album that hadn't been announced yet, feeding speculation that 1989 could be next.after the original track started trending on TikTok. "Saw you guys got Wildest Dreams trending on tiktok, thought you should have my version," she'd
Other fans are pining for the rerelease of another popular album, Speak Now, Swift's third album that came out in 2010. Swift famously wrote all the tracks entirely by herself after critics accused her of not writing her own songs on previous albums.
But if there's one thing we can expect from Miss Swift, the queen of Easter eggs and surprises, it's the unexpected. So we'll just have to wait and see.