All Too Well: The Story of Taylor Swift’s Re-recordings

Nicole Gulosh

On the evening of November 11, Taylor Swift fans waited with anticipation. They anxiously watched the clock until midnight, holding their breath until Red (Taylor’s Version) finally hit streaming services.   


Red is the second album that Swift has re-recorded and released. The reason that she is re-recording her albums is complicated. Currently, she doesn’t own the ‘“masters” of her first six albums, which means she doesn’t own the original recordings. This includes Taylor Swift (commonly referred to as Debut), Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, and Reputation. She doesn’t have ownership of the versions of these albums that were put onto streaming services like Spotify, or CDs and records. Shamrock Capital currently owns these masters. They were sold to Shamrock by Ithaca Holdings, which is owned by Scooter Braun.


However, Swift owns the lyrics, musical arrangements, and melodies. This is what allows her to re-record her albums, and make her the owner of these new recordings. The re-recorded versions of the songs have (Taylor’s Version) after the title of the song.

Swift also included songs on the re-recordings that she has never released herself before. Both “Better Man” and “Babe” have been released by other artists in the past. Each of these songs has (From the Vault) in the title. The Red (From the Vault) songs are “Better Man,” “Nothing New,” “Babe,” “Message In A Bottle,” “I Bet You Think About Me,” “Forever Winter,” “Run,” and “The Very First Night.” 


One of the most anticipated releases from Swift was the ten-minute version of “All Too Well.” The ten-minute version has the original lyrics from when she first wrote the song. Swift had to cut the length down to release it on the first version of Red, but now she can put the ten-minute version out into the world. Both the regular version (five minutes and twenty-nine seconds) and the ten-minute version of the song are included in the re-recording. The ten-minute version of “All Too Well” now has over 52 million streams on Spotify. The song was written about Swift’s relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal. 


The day after the album was released, Swift released a short film based on “All Too Well.” Starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brian, the age difference between these two actors is the same as the age difference between Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal when they dated. “They had the song before anyone else had the song and when they said yes, I was so elated because I didn’t have backups in mind,” Swift said at the premiere of All Too Well: The Short Film. The short film now has almost 50 million views on YouTube.  


With the re-recordings, Taylor Swift has taken back her music for herself and her fans and has skyrocketed to the top of the music charts once again. In her words from the song “State of Grace,” “This is the golden age of something good and right and real.”