Taylor Swift persuades Apple to pay musicians

Swift said yesterday she would hold back her latest album 1989 from Apple Music in protest at their decision not to pay for songs streamed during the trial period. Picture: Getty
Swift said yesterday she would hold back her latest album 1989 from Apple Music in protest at their decision not to pay for songs streamed during the trial period. Picture: Getty
Share this article
Have your say

THEY have tried to keep their relationship low key, appearing in public together for the first time just weeks ago when Taylor Swift swept the board at the Billboard music awards.

But now Scottish DJ Calvin Harris has made a public declaration of love for the American singer as he praised “my girl” for forcing tech giant Apple to pay musicians for songs played on its new streaming service.

“I just played a gig inside a giant owl and my girl just changed the entire music industry – what a day,” Dumfries-born Harris, 31, wrote to his six million followers on Twitter, referring to his performance on Sunday night at Las Vegas’s Electric Daisy Carnival.

Swift, who is due to perform at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro arena tonight as part of a three-date UK tour, wrote an open letter to Apple on Sunday, arguing against their policy that independent artists would not be paid during a free trial period of its new Apple Music streaming service.

She also said she was refusing to allow the company to stream her album 1989 in protest.

“This is not about me,” 25-year-old Swift wrote on Tumblr. “This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt.”

My girl just changed the entire music industry

Calvin Harris

She described the decision as “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company”.

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

“We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

Her words sparked a quick U-turn by Apple. Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice-president of internet software and services, saw the letter and immediately decided to change the company’s policy.

“When I woke up this morning and read Taylor’s note, it really solidified that we need to make a change,” he said, adding that artists would be paid throughout the three-month trial.

Apple Music was unveiled at the Apple developers’ conference earlier this month and is due to be available on devices within the next couple of weeks, with a free three-month trial period for customers in the US.

UK independent record label Beggars Group has also criticised the trial period, saying it struggled “to see why rights owners and artists should bear this aspect of Apple’s customer acquisition costs”.

Swift wrote on Twitter after Apple’s change in policy: “I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.”

Harris, who started his working life stacking shelves for Marks & Spencer in Dumfries, was first linked romantically with Bad Blood singer Swift in February, but their relationship did not become official until May, when the pair were spotted kissing at the Billboard music awards.

At the awards, Harris picked up the honour for the top dance/electronic artist and Swift scooped a raft of trophies, winning in eight of the 14 categories in which she was nominated.

Harris, a former pupil of Dumfries High School, has shot to stardom in recent years with hits such as I’m Not Alone and Ready for the Weekend.

Swift has since posted a picture of the pair together on her Instagram feed, which has 33 million followers.

Fans took to social media to express their excitement at Harris’s public display of affection, retweeting his message more than 10,500 times.

@cheshiresmiles wrote: “There are tears in my eyes”, while @lienjessie added: “It’s really nice to see him saying that”.