Taylor Swift is a woman of her word.
Swift has spent the 18 months since her old label Big Machine was sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings without her being consulted warning that she would re-record all her old songs in order to reduce the value of the originals. When Ithaca sold her first six albums to Shamrock Capital for $300 million last month, she doubled down on those claims.
And now, she’s only been and gone and done it, with a re-recorded version of her classic early single Love Story debuting on an advert for dating site Match.
The amusing commercial, featuring the devil falling in love with a girl called 2020, was written by Swift’s pal Ryan Reynolds, who debuted the clip on social media. Swift linked to his post, saying: “Okay so while my new re-records are not done, my friend @VancityReynolds asked me if he could use a snippet of one for a LOLsome commercial he wrote so… here’s a sneak peak of Love Story! Working hard to get the music to you soon!!”
Okay so while my new re-records are NOT done, my friend @VancityReynolds asked me if he could use a snippet of one for a LOLsome commercial he wrote so...here’s a sneak peak of Love Story! Working hard to get the music to you soon!! https://t.co/0vBFXxaRXR— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) December 2, 2020
And, while it’s not yet clear if the recording will be made commercially available to fans, it’s use in an ad is significant: that’s the sort of sync licensing deal that Shamrock will be unable to participate in, reducing its chances of making back its huge outlay on Swift’s catalogue. Swift controls the publishing rights to her songs and will be able to insist advertisers and broadcasters license her versions, rather than the Big Machine ones.
The song also gives a clue as to whether Swift is trying to recreate or reinterpret her old songs: while her vocal is not identical to the original Love Story, the music is pretty faithfully replicated, meaning the new version is very close in sound and spirit to its predecessor.
Love Story, from her classic 2008 second album Fearless, was Swift’s debut UK hit, reaching No.2 in 2009. It has sold 1,284,799 copies to date, according to the Official Charts Company.