In June 2019, Taylor Swift’s apparent nemesis, Scooter Braun, acquired her former record label, Big Machine Records, for a price north of $300 million. Through the purchase, Braun automatically gained ownership of the master recordings of Swift’s first six albums. Swift took to Tumblr to express her disappointment with the sale. Accusing Braun of years of “incessant, manipulative bullying,” she wrote of her prior record deal, “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.”
The singer-songwriter, who had signed with Republic Records and Universal Music Group in 2018, began re-releasing her music in 2021 as a means to regain ownership of her work. Since the debut of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” that April, the hitmaker’s re-released records have sold more than her original releases within the same time frame. By July 2023, 737,000 copies of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” had flown off the shelves against the OG “Fearless” album’s 41,000 copies. Similarly, 950,000 copies of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” had been purchased since its release, compared to 45,000 copies of Swift’s fourth studio album “Red.”
Around that time, “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” sold 716,000 copies in its first week. Meanwhile, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” became a Spotify first as the most streamed body of work on its release day, and nabbed Swift her 12th No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 chart.