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The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

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The Role of Music in the Ocarina of Time

The Role of Music in the Ocarina of Time

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Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was one of the world's first video games to utilize 3D graphics. Yet perhaps its most iconic element is its soundtrack, which plays an integral role in...

English 101: Get to Know the English Department – Mr. Confer

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Introduce yourself! What class[es] do you currently teach, how long have you been at ASIJ, and what do you like to do outside of school?  Hi! My name is Dwain Confer, and I'm in my 8th year at...

English 101: Get to Know the English Department – Ms. Anjali

English 101: Get to Know the English Department – Ms. Anjali

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Introduce yourself! What class[es] do you currently teach, how long have you been at ASIJ, and what do you like to do outside of school?  I'm Ms. Anjali! This is my second year at ASIJ, where I...

Taylor-made: The Success of Taylor Swift’s Re-Recorded Albums

Taylor-made%3A+The+Success+of+Taylor+Swift%E2%80%99s+Re-Recorded+Albums
Reading Time: 3 minutes

After nearly two decades, Taylor Swift has cemented herself as a household name in the music industry. Her ongoing, massively successful “Eras Tour” is her sixth international concert tour since 2009. She has also written a substantial amount of music, including ten studio albums, four live albums, and most recently, four re-recorded albums. 

Taylor’s Version is a term placed after any of Swift’s re-recorded songs or albums and acts as a marker, indicating that she owns the copyright to that piece of music. Taylor’s Version was the product of a dispute with her record label, Big Machine. When the masters of her albums were sold without her knowledge, Swift, with the intent to regain the rights to her songs, started her journey of re-recording her albums. 

Artists re-recording albums is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it has been done quite frequently by artists such as Kate Bush, Bob Dylan, and David Bowie. There are an abundance of reasons why an artist would choose to re-record their songs, varying from disputes with label companies to a desire for improvement or even simple experimentation. 

In 2012, in a case similar to that of Taylor Swift, Def Leppard re-recorded their biggest hits due to a conflict between the band and their record label, Universal Music Group. Lead singer Joe Elliot stated, “We’re trying to wrestle back our career and ownership of these songs.” While Def Leppard’s re-recordings gained some traction in the media, their impact on the music industry was small in comparison to the profound effect that Taylor’s Version has had. 

So far, Swift has released four re-recorded albums: Fearless (Taylor’s Version), Red (Taylor’s Version), Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), and most recently 1989 (Taylor’s Version). Fearless (Taylor’s Version), released in April of 2021, has been streamed ​​more than two and a half billion times—earning Swift an estimated $20,477,599 in royalties. These huge profits continued with Swift’s next re-recorded album, Red (Taylor’s Version), which was able to exceed Fearless (Taylor’s Version) in both streams and royalties earned. 

Taylor’s revenue from these records blows those of other artists’ re-recordings out of the water, but with the immense success she is experiencing, the question lingers: what makes Taylor’s Version different? 

An important factor in Taylor Swift’s success is her large base of dedicated fans. United under the nickname “Swifties,” her supporters exhibit an extreme amount of loyalty, supporting every one of her career moves. Swift knows that her fans are the driving force behind her success and as a result, thanks her fans at every opportunity, whether it be at her concerts or in public interactions. 

Along with a loyal fan base, another factor in her success is her skillful marketing. Swift’s marketing can be broken down into two aspects: the general promotion of her music and merchandise through social and traditional media, and the unique puzzle games placed within those marketing campaigns aimed at her devoted fandom. 

Most recently, in the lead-up to the release of the 1989 re-record, Swift made her fans work for the titles of the additional “vault” tracks—new songs not included on the original 1989 record—that would be on the album. In a Google Search game, fans deciphered a series of anagrams related to her song lyrics. Only after fans collectively solved 33 million puzzles were the titles of the previously unreleased tracks revealed. In less than 19 hours, Swift’s devoted fans managed to reach the threshold and unlock the new tracks. 

Between Swift’s clever marketing and dedicated fanbase, it is no wonder that Taylor’s Version has become a huge success, not just among re-recorded albums, but in the music industry as a whole.

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About the Contributor
Hana Smith
Hana Smith, Writer
Hi, my name is Hana. I was born in Japan and I'm currently a sophomore. My interests include reading, art, and listening to music! My current favorite Taylor Swift album is Folklore but it does vary depending on my mood!

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