Record labels seek to avoid “Taylor’s Version”-style re-recordings in the future.

While Taylor Swift has amassed billions of streams with updated “Taylor’s Version” re-recordings of her original hits in recent years, creating cultural moments out of old material  

while simultaneously driving down the value of those original recordings that were sold away from her, record labels have been working to prevent this from happening again.  

According to top music attorneys, the major labels, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group, have recently overhauled contracts for new signees, with some demanding artists waiting an unprecedented 10, 15, or even 30 years to re-record releases after leaving their record companies.  

“The first time I saw it, I tried to get rid of it entirely,” says Josh Karp, an experienced attorney who has reviewed the new UMG contract limits.  

“I was like, ‘What is this?'” This is unusual. Why would we accept to more restrictions than we have previously committed to with the same label?'” 

For decades, traditional major-label recording contracts required artists to wait until the latter of two time periods expired before releasing re-recorded versions, Swift-style: It could have been five to seven years after the original’s release date, or two years after the contract expired.  

Attorneys are now obtaining label contracts that extend that time to ten, fifteen, or more years – and the attorneys are fighting back.  

“It becomes one of a multitude of items you’re fighting,” Karp said.  

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