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Taylor Swift boycotts Apple streaming over payments

AFP , Sunday 21 Jun 2015
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Pop superstar Taylor Swift said Sunday she will not allow her latest album on Apple's new streaming service to protest its "shocking" lack of artist compensation during a free trial period.

The move by Swift, one of the most outspoken critics of streaming leader Spotify, delivers an early blow to Apple's bid to dominate the booming sector.

Swift said that the tech giant, which is launching the new Apple Music on June 30, will not pay for songs streamed during a free three-month trial period for new subscribers.

"I find it to be shocking, disappointing and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company," Swift wrote in a posting on Tumblr.

Swift -- whose "1989" was by far the top-selling US album last year and remains high on the charts -- insisted that she was speaking for all artists and not just herself.

"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," Swift wrote.

Swift said that her move was in part "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."

Apple holds a massive influence over the music industry through iTunes, the premier place to buy songs or albums digitally.

The company is now hoping to become a powerful force in streaming as it watches consumes flock to unlimited, on-demand online music.

Apple has not gone public with details on the payout structure, but is known to have been involved in intense negotiations with major record labels.

Prosecutors in New York and the neighboring state of Connecticut have started an initial probe on whether major labels are colluding with Apple to stop licensing content to rivals.

Swift said that "1989" would not appear on Apple Music, although she stopped short on pulling her entire catalog.

Last year, she withdrew all of her music from Spotify -- which, controversially, offers a free tier that is supported by advertisements.

Spotify says that it nonetheless pays back artists and has given out $3 billion in royalties since the Swedish company's launch in 2008.

Apple plans to charge $9.99 a month after the three-month trial.

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