Taylor Swift has a plan to make Scooter Braun’s purchase of her body of work irrelevant: The singer is officially rerecording her masters, according to the a new interview with Tracy Smith on CBS Sunday Morning.
Braun manages Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and more, as well as a producer. Earlier this year, Braun made headlines when he purchased Big Machine Records, the company that owns all of Swift’s master recordings of every one of her songs prior to her seventh album Lover. Swift was devastated over the news, and took to social media to express her anger, calling Braun’s move her “worst case scenario.” She accused Braun of “bullying” her over the years, connecting him to that years-long feud with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, the latter of whom was once his client.
"When I left my masters in Scott [Borchetta of Big Machine Records’] hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them. Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter," Swift wrote in her post on Tumblr. "Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to. He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever."
Now, however, Swift has told Smith that it is “absolutely” the plan to rerecord her masters. This means that Swift would have new versions of her songs, thus, ideally, making the ones that Braun owns not as important: Fans could choose to purchase Swift’s rerecordings instead of older copies, as could anyone who wishes to use a Swift song in a commercial, movie, or show.
Prior to Swift's confirmation that she would do so, Kelly Clarkson publicly encouraged the idea.
"Just a thought, U should go in & re-record all the songs that U don’t own the masters on exactly how U did them but put brand new art & some kind of incentive so fans will no longer buy the old versions," she wrote on Twitter. "I’d buy all of the new versions just to prove a point."
The interview with Swift and Smith will air Sunday, Aug. 25 at 9 am on CBS.
Refinery29 has reached out to Swift and Braun for comment.
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What if we told you that an extremely private Christian sect believed Donald Trump was chosen by God to rule, and even helped get him elected? What if we said this sect wielded enormous influenc e in governments around the world? What if this wasn’t a conspiracy theory, but a provable phenomenon?
The Family, a shocking six-part documentary series on Netflix, delves into this group, called the Fellowship. Religion writer Jeff Sharlet first heard of the Fellowship after joining Ivanwald, a house in Arlington, VA where young men live, pray, and tend to the Fellowship’s D.C. connections. After witnessing the Fellowship’s blurring of church and state first-hand, Sharlet went full undercover and wrote a book, now turned into a Netflix documentary. Ever since The Family ’s release on August 7, audiences have been reeling about its findings — and what they mean for understanding America’s current political climate.
We spoke to Jesse Moss, the creator of The Family, about casting Oliver Cromwell, Donald Trump as a "Wolf King," and what The Family might illuminate about America in 2019.
Refinery29: What made you want to adapt Jeff Sharlet’s book, The Family, into a series?
Jesse Moss: “The book completely escaped my attention when it came out, though I don’t know how. When I read the book two years ago, I was floored. I couldn't believe it. I was impressed by the reporting and Jeff’s personal experience. Both of those things suggested that there was a challenging but possible way to adapt it as a documentary. What I liked about the project was that it was terrifying to me. The story was terrifying and the challenge of trying to adapt it was terrifying. That’s where the important work is — and what I want to be doing. It was, from that point, about two years start to finish.”
The book came out in 2009. The story has taken on greater urgency now. Netflix has an enormous reach. Why is now the right time for millions to be seeing this story?
“A big motivating question for me in taking on the project was to understand the relationship between the Evangelical Christian right and Donald Trump. How to explain the faithful embrace of someone who’s so seemingly not pious. Is that explained in transactional politics or is that about theology?
“The theology of the Fellowship might explain the moment we find ourselves in. Someone who seems to evoke the worst authoritarian tendencies, and yet seems to have enjoyed the wholehearted embrace of Evangelical voters. That was the answer to the question I thought might be lurking in the story — and that’s what people are responding to, in part.”
What does the theology of the Fellowship help you understand about Donald Trump?
“The idea that leaders are chosen by God. That they are instruments of God’s will. Does the theology of the Fellowship, where you preach to the up and out, and not the down and out, present an inherent challenge to transparency, accountability, and democracy? The Fellowship embraces, and have made an intentional purpose, of reaching out to some of the worst despots, dictators, and murders of the 20th century.
“There’s an argument to be made, and the Fellowship makes it, that you can do more work if you preach to the powerful. They in turn would do more work that would trickle down to the masses. We’ve seen that philosophy as it plays out in economics. Does it work? I think the verdict is pretty clear in in that case.”
I imagine access was a challenge. The documentary features interviews from people in the Fellowship, and its stringent critics. How did you recruit people for interviews?
"When I started the project I sent the Fellowship a clear letter of my intentions: Here’s who I am, here's the work I’ve done. I’d like to know the work that your organization does, I’d like to come over to the Cedars and visit. They wrote back politely, ' No, we do our best work invisibly.' And yet we persist, as we do. We were able to get people around the periphery of the Fellowship to talk. Eventually the Fellowship put forward Larry Ross and former congressman Zach Wamp. Those were really good conversations. Not gotchas.
"The series allows [Fellowship members] to tell both the story of the Fellowship and their involvement in it in their own words. There’s no narration. We’ve allowed these conflicting points of views to come through strongly. We’re trusting our audiences to parse this for themselves and come to their own conclusions about what is the nature of this organization.
The Family starts the way so many stories do: An outsider finds himself in a new situation, and we follow along for the ride. Can you talk about creating those Ivanwald segments? They seem like a warped CW show.
“The easy choice, but the wrong choice, would be to paint Ivanwald like a horror film. But there was an innocence and wholesomeness Jeff’s experience. I wanted the male culture that Jeff found himself in to not be cast in a sinister way — at least initially. We’re going to get to the shadows, but we’re going to bring people in the light way. We made some compressions and consolidations, but Jeff provided a ready-made screenplay for this story.
“David Risdall played the young Jeff. He was raised in an Evangelical family and was very faithful through his 20s. He brought a real sensitivity to the role. James Cromwell, someone who was in both Babe and LA Confidential, came to embody the contradictions of Doug Coe. Is he benevolent or is he sinister? The series works it out and allows the audience to come to their own conclusions.”
How did making this change your perspective on the current moment? There’s so much you can take away from this documentary. What did you?
“Before, I did not intellectually understand a theology that would see people like our current president as instruments of God’s will. But this transcends the story of the Fellowship. We find ourselves on the precipice of a crisis of democracy — the destabilization of Europe and the rise of Christian nationalism and ethnic nationalism. Is faith going to be a bulwark against authoritarianism,or accelerate that moment? That’s the profound question we need to be asking. What’s the role of the faith community? Is it sheltering immigrants who have come to this country illegally, or is it justifying a president whose policies demonize them? How the faith community responds to political leadership and those social challenges is of enormous importance regardless of how you feel about the fellowship itself.
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