What’s the word for a tale that is more elaborate and twisting and operatic than a saga? An epic? An odyssey? Whatever it’s called, that’s what the story of Taylor Swift and her old label Big Machine has become. It somehow started just last year, even though it seems like we’ve been dealing with this for our whole lives, when Swift’s old label, Big Machine, was purchased by Scooter Braun, the closest thing Swift has to a nemesis. He’s Kanye West’s former manager, and supposedly he—at the very least—was present for all of the annoying and petty shit that West had done over the years to piss Swift off. By buying Big Machine, he controlled the master recordings to Swift’s entire pre-Lover catalog and could do anything he wanted with them.
He didn’t end up doing much, maybe because the Swifties made it clear that they were watching, but now Variety says Braun is wiping his hands of the whole thing and selling off the rights to Swift’s first six albums in a deal that could be worth upwards of $300 million. Unfortunately for Swift, Braun seems to be selling the rights to the only entity worse than a rich guy with suspicious motives: An unnamed investment fund, a.k.a. possibly a whole group of rich guys with suspicious motives. Fans can yell at Scooter Braun on Twitter, asking him not to do mean stuff with Taylor Swift’s catalog, and Swift herself could release public statements denouncing him and the way he has treated her (directly and indirectly). But how do you yell at a faceless group of investors? How do you get people to care that an investment fund might misuse your music when everyone already assumes that investment funds will misuse anything they get their hands on?
The silver-lining to all of this is that Swift, as of this month, is now free to rerecord her first five albums, meaning she can at least put out new versions of most of her old songs and try to dilute the value of the original versions. She can convince fans the old versions are bad and should be ignored while providing them with hot new versions that actually support her and not investors, and knowing Swift, she’s going to sit on those until the best possible moment to stick it to whoever currently owns her old masters.