The creative and the business side of the music industry have long had a tumultuous relationship, but recording artists have recently found new inspiration in pop star Taylor Swift and her decision to rerecord old songs to take back some control of her money and career.
Country artist Morgan Wallen is the latest artist to signal his intention to rerecord some of his early tracks and release new recordings of them — including his 2015 song "Spin You Around" — following Swift's earlier decision to make the move to dilute the popularity and power of some of her older recordings.
Wallen told fans on X, writing about one of his first albums: "colleagues I parted ways with almost 10 years ago plan to release a '10th Anniversary' edition of Stand Alone against my wishes & include 8 unreleased songs, distributing it with the assistance of my former managers. For months I’ve been exploring every avenue possible to acquire the rights to this old music & keep the quality of my catalog consistent with songs I choose to release & believe in."
As Deadline reported, Wallen felt he'd had little knowledge of the music business and a lack of legal representation when he released some of his first projects — when he was only 21 years old.
Wallen said in his lengthy statement that he believes the "dark side of the music business" is "gross" and "greedy."
Pop/R&B artist SZA, who recently complained publicly about music in the digital age, and how leaking songs is ruining the art, praised the move to rerecord songs by artists including Swift and Wallen, saying, "That's the biggest 'f*** you' to the establishment I've ever seen in my life, and I deeply applaud that s***."
Artists like Swift, Wallen and SZA have signaled they want to take back more control of when and how their discography is released, and rereleased, over time.
Deadline reported that sometime between the beginning of 2024 and the end of February, Wallen is rerecording tracks, with at least one having already been scheduled for a rerelease.
Wallen reportedly intends to donate $100,000 from his Morgan Wallen Foundation to a program called Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts.
Variety reported that leadership at Panacea Records, a label Wallen has worked with, said the label supports his project to rerelease old material, and said fans should enjoy the new material as well.
Wallen told fans on his social media, "when new music is ready, you'll hear it directly from me."
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