It’s a Taylor Swift world this week, as the superstar’s first major label album, Lover, is out. There’s a media blitz afoot for the new recording, but the most intriguing questions of that press tour center on Swift’s first five albums, owned by her arch-nemesis, Scooter Braun, via his Big Machine label purchase. It seems Swift is planning a cold revenge, despite the fact that Braun has again extended an olive branch to Swift, praising the new album. So far, no response, at least publicly.
This week in music:
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CAN TAYLOR DUPLICATE HERSELF? Her new album, Lover, is out, so Taylor Swift is making the media rounds. But more than the nuances of the new album, what everyone wants to know is if she will follow through with her threats to re-record her first five albums. The rights to those recordings are held by Big Machine Media, owned by Swift arch-enemy Scooter Braun. Some in the industry contend that there’s likely a contractual clause that prevents her from doing that. But in a “Good Morning America” appearance, Swift said that those restrictions have a time limit. “My contract says that starting November 2020, so next year, I can record albums one through five all over again,” she said. “It’s next year, it’s right around the corner — I’m going to be busy, I’m excited.” One potentially lucrative path beyond album sales – sync licenses on the new versions of the old material.
MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS: The annual awards show heads to Newark, NJ this Monday, Aug. 26 at the Prudential Center. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco hosts, with performances by Taylor Swift, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes and more. Swift and Ariana Grande are tied for the most nominations with 10 each. The show is celebrating the anniversary of Kanye West’s Hennessy-fueled interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for best video.
TRAVIS FLIES HIGH: Netflix will take viewers inside the world of Grammy nominated rapper Travis Scott in its documentary Travis Scott: Look Mom I Can Fly, bowing globally on the streamer Aug. 28. The film takes a look at the fast-paced world of Scott, who performed at the Super Bowl halftime, released the Grammy nominated Astroworld, and became a father in the last year. The footage features cuts from his live shows and home video from his childhood, and includes a live performance in front of his hometown fans. Directed by White Trash Tyler, the film is produced by David Stromberg, Angus Wall and Stormi Webster, with executive producer Jacques B. Webster II.
MY LITTLE SNOOP DOGG: In one of life’s little ironies, the toy company best known for My Little Pony and Mr. Potato Head now owns the catalog of Death Row Records, thanks to the $4 billion deal by Hasbro to acquire Entertainment One. Hasbro was really interested in the acquisition of children’s franchises Peppa Pig and PJ Masks, but Entertainment One also has a music division. It spent $280 million to acquire the Death Row Records catalog, which declared bankruptcy in 2006. It contains music by Snoop Dogg, Tupac and Dr. Dre, among others.
BERRY GORDY’S SIDE OF THE STORY: The Showtime documentary Hitsville: The Making of Motown, tells the story of the most successful soul/R&B record label in music history, all from the viewpoint of Berry Gordy Jr. and Smokey Robinson. Motown is celebrating its 60th anniversary, but this is the first documentary to have the participation of Gordy.
SPOTIFY BOOK OPTIONED: Spotify Untold, the Swedish-language tell-all book about the streaming music company, has been optioned by a UK television firm. The book by Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud has been picked up by Yellow Bird.