Ahead of the release of Olivia Rodrigo’s new album Sour, one of the biggest stories about it was Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff receiving a writing credit on “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back.” While it may seem like Rodrigo sampled Swift’s “New Year’s Day” on the track, that has turned out to not be the case, and some fans think Rodrigo had a specific reason for not sampling Swift.
Uproxx previously confirmed that Rodrigo does not sample Swift’s studio recording of “New Year’s Day” on the song. Rather, she interpolated it, meaning she (or a collaborator) freshly recorded the notes that Swift and Jack Antonoff wrote. If Rodrigo had sampled the song, the owners of the master recording (Scooter Braun and Big Machine Records) would have profited via royalty payments. Since Swift is famously not on good terms with Braun and her former label, some fans see this move as Rodrigo supporting Swift and intentionally making sure those parties do not make any money off her work.
One fan summed up the situation well: “a sample is a song that has been copied and pasted into a new song. an interpolation means you recreate the song with your own musicians. so Olivia interpolating the song means Taylor and jack gave her permission to reproduce the notes that they wrote. this means [scooter] GETS NO MONEY. in other words: hiring someone to record the piano line from new year’s day: some number of dollars idk how much session musicians make. cutting [scooter] and whoever else out of the loop: PRICELESS. (if it were a sample they would have to pay whoever owned the masters).”
According to @UPROXX, Olivia Rodrigo interpolated the "New Year's Day" melody on "1 step forward, 3 steps back" and not sample it.
Taylor and Jack gave her permission to remake the notes they wrote, which means 🛴 gets ZERO royalties. https://t.co/mQu3FuRM4f
— Taylor Swift Facts (@TSwiftFTC) May 20, 2021
Fans of both Rodrigo and Swift (a Venn diagram that seems to be essentially just a circle) were excited to make this discovery, so check out some reactions below.
olivia asked permission to use the melody jack and taylor wrote but didn’t sample it and just played the song herself on the piano so the actual owner of the song wouldn’t get any money… olivia rodrigo the leader of the fuck sc00ter braun agenda!
— ro is sour (@traitorvinyl) May 20, 2021
QUEEN OLIVIA LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD AND THE FUCK SCOOTER CAMPAIGN !!!! that’s our girl !!!! https://t.co/hPyRsxPjMd
— jodie 💛💛 (@jlb26_) May 21, 2021
HOYYY THERE'S ACTUAL TEARS IN MY EYES RN LIKE WTF?!? Olivia's '1 step forward, 3 steps back' is really Taylor's 'New Year's day'!!!!! ion know what to feel but fck it I'M GLAD SCOOTER WON'T EARN MONEY FROM IT AGAIN😭
— bratz deniz (@xchandreaaa) May 21, 2021
Olivia interpolating New Year’s Day instead of sampling it so that Taylor Swift and jack Antonoff receive the profits and not 🛴… god I already love this girl 😩
— jessi 💛💛 (@bibliojessi) May 20, 2021
OLIVIA DIDN'T SAMPLE NEW YEAR'S DAY SHE INTERPOLATED IT WHICH MEANS 🛴 GETS NO MONEY EVERYONE CHEER
— lia is sour (@oliviaissour) May 20, 2021
Sour is out now via Geffen Records. Get it here.