Apple changes tune over streaming service after Taylor Swift threat

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Apple has agreed to pay musicians for songs played on its new music streaming service after pop star Taylor Swift threatened to boycott it in a row over royalties.

The Shake It Off singer, 25, said yesterday she would hold back her latest album 1989 from Apple Music in protest at the technology giant’s “shocking and disappointing” decision not to pay for songs streamed during a three-month trial period.

It prompted an Apple’s senior vice president for internet software and services Eddy Cue to tweet this morning that the musicians would be paid.

Taylor’s stand against the consumer giant came after she withdrew her entire catalogue from popular music streaming service Spotify in November.

In a letter published on her website yesterday, Taylor said: “I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free three-month trial to anyone who signs up for the service.

“I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months.

“I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”

Taylor said she was making a stand not for herself but for new artists or bands, young songwriters and producers who would not be paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays.

She said: “These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child. These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much. We simply do not respect this particular call.

“I realise that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress.

“We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the three- month trial period … even if it is free for the fans trying it out.

“Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.”

When she took her music off Spotify last year, Taylor argued that the streaming company’s ad-supported free service undermines the premium service, which provides higher royalties for songwriters.

She claimed Spotify was conducting a “grand experiment” which failed to fairly compensate the creators of music.

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