Taylor Swift has turned Shamrock Capital’s $300 million investment into her masters into junk bonds.
Taylor released her first re-record, of her 2008 single “Love Story,” last night. And it shot straight to number 1 on iTunes. And everywhere. The new single compares favorably to the original, too. It’s actually better.
The album, “Fearless,” from 2008, comes next, with six unreleased tracks. “Fearless” will be the first of six albums Swift will re-release re-recorded.
And that will obliterate the original six, paid for by Shamrock Capital for $300 million. Swift’s social media base and fan clubs will simply take up the new records and say good bye to the old ones.
What did Shamrock pay $300 million for? Future sales of the original albums. They didn’t buy the song publishing. Swift herself can stop them from licensing the records to commercials. So as the new records replace the old ones, the Shamrock purchase is going to turn into a write off, writ large.
The winner in the game is Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber’s manager, who bought Scott Borchett’s Big Machine Records and acquired the Swift back catalog. Swift threatened to re-record and people laughed. In the past, others had tried it including Prince.
But Prince was no Taylor Swift. He was a mess, unfocused. Also, he didn’t have the that huge organized following. Fans were sympathetic but not en masse. This was before there was an internet of any consequence. And he wasn’t involved his fans, he was aloof.
Swift is the opposite. She pays fans’ grocery bills. They feel an individual connection to her. And they respond in kind.
Shamrock can only have buyer’s remorse at this point. They defended their purchase last fall when it was announced. But they’d been outplayed by Taylor Swift.