Taylor Swift’s music has captured the hearts of millions worldwide, transcending genres and generations. Her ability to put out narratives through her lyrics has made her one of the most celebrated storytellers. However, it is this very talent that has made it challenging to incorporate her songs into films.

Swift’s songs are not only catchy melodies and rhythms, they are filled with emotions, experiences, and introspections that demand attention. Her lyrics are not just accompaniments to visuals. They are the driving force that transports listeners on a journey.

Taylor Swift - Reputation Tour
Taylor Swift on tour | Credits: Wikimedia Commons/Ronald Woan

This commitment to storytelling has also been a challenge for Swift. While it makes her unique for fans who connect with her narratives, it has also created challenges for filmmakers seeking to use her music as a backdrop for their own stories.

Challenges of Taylor Swift’s All Too Well Ending up in The Fall Guy

Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling in The Fall Guy
Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling in The Fall Guy | via Universal Pictures YouTube

Kelly McCormick, the producer of the Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt starter movie The Fall Guy, found herself struggling with this very dilemma. As a self-proclaimed Swiftie, McCormick was determined to use Taylor Swift‘s music in an important scene, but she recognized the difficulty of doing so. McCormick said to Variety,

“Taylor’s hard to put in a movie because she’s a storyteller. So then putting images on top of the story she’s telling when you’re listening to every single word is really hard to do.”

Also read: “Who hasn’t had a good car cry to Taylor Swift, right?”: Ryan Gosling Confesses His Love For Taylor Swift While Promoting The Fall Guy

However, the scene was written and the rights to the song were secured before the Eras Tour became a global phenomenon, as confirmed by music supervisor Rachel Levy,

“It happened before the tour frenzy. Taylor is a friend of sync. We haven’t had much that’s been denied by her. She likes to place her songs in movies, and there was no reason to think that it would be denied.”

Despite the challenge, McCormick and director David Leitch ultimately chose Swift’s 2012 emotional ballad All Too Well as the perfect song for a scene showing Gosling’s character’s heartbreak. The raw emotion of the lyrics perfectly captured the character’s emotional state, allowing the visuals and the music to complement each other.

Also read: “The decisions I make, I make them with Eva”: Don’t Expect to See Ryan Gosling Taking Dark Roles in Future as Actor Takes Major Decision About Career

Taylor Swift Revealed Why Her Songs Are Less Featured in Films

YouTube Presents Taylor Swift
YouTube Presents Taylor Swift | Credits: Wikimedia Commons/Marcin Wichary

While the inclusion of All Too Well in The Fall Guy was a win for Swift’s music, it also highlighted the issue of ownership and creative control that the artist has faced throughout her career. In a dispute with her former record label, Big Machine Records, Swift found herself in a battle for the rights to her own music. Despite mostly being the sole writer of her songs, Swift did not own the masters. In an interview with Billboard, the Fortnite singer said,

“I want to at least raise my hand and say, ‘This is something that an artist should be able to earn back over the course of their deal — not as a renegotiation ploy — and something that artists should maybe have the first right of refusal to buy.'”

Also read: The Tortured Poets Department: Every Celebrity That Taylor Swift Has Sang About in Her Latest Album- Explained

It is this fight for creative control and ownership that has made Swift cautious about licensing her music for commercial purposes. As she explained further in the same interview,

“Thankfully, there’s power in writing your music. Every week, we get a dozen synch requests to use “Shake It Off” in some advertisement or “Blank Space” in some movie trailer, and we say no to every single one of them. And the reason I’m rerecording my music next year is because I do want my music to live on. I do want it to be in movies, I do want it to be in commercials. But I only want that if I own it.”

Swift’s reluctance to surrender her music to third parties unless she owns the rights shows her commitment to her art and her desire to maintain the integrity of her storytelling. It is her commitment that has made her music resonate with fans worldwide, and it is also the reason why her songs are rarely heard in films and commercials.

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