Taylor Swift: Fresh from single-handedly saving the music industry, singer starts UK tour

The 25-year-old prompted a U-turn in Apple's policy regarding artist payment

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The Independent Culture

Taylor Swift kicks off the UK leg of her world tour tonight following her elation at a U-turn made by Apple regarding payment for songs. The American star is performing in Glasgow at the SSE Hydro arena and sung her biggest hits including ‘Shake It Off’ and ‘Love Story’. The 25-year-old is due to appear in Manchester on Wednesday night and London later in the week.

Her appearance comes after she sparked headlines for her open letter to Apple saying she would hold back her latest album, 1989, in protest at the technology giant’s “shocking and disappointing” decision not to pay for songs streamed during a three-month trial period. Writing online, she said it was “unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing”, prompting an Apple executive to tweet that the musicians would be paid.

But it also prompted a challenge from photographer Jason Sheldon, who posted what he said was a copy of her photo policy which gives her “free and unlimited use of our work, worldwide, in perpetuity”. Swift hit back and said Mr Sheldon had “misrepresented” her photography agreement when he branded her “guilty of the very same tactic” as Apple.

A UK spokeswoman for Swift responded by saying: “The standard photography agreement has been misrepresented in that it clearly states that any photographer shooting the 1989 world tour has the opportunity for further use of said photographs with management’s approval.

“Another distinct misrepresentation is the claim that the copyright of the photographs will be with anyone other than the photographer – this agreement does not transfer copyright away from the photographer. Every artist has the right to and should protect the use of their name and likeness.”

Swift described Apple as “one of her best partners in selling music”, but said she found the fact they would not be paying artists for three months to “be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company”. In November last year Swift withdrew her entire catalogue from Spotify, and said she was making a stand not for herself but for new artists and bands, young songwriters and producers who would not be paid for a quarter of a year of plays. Apple’s U-turn was given a cautious welcome by music industry figures.

 

Alison Wenham, from the Worldwide Independent Network which represents the independent music industry, said: “The decision from Apple to pay royalties to rights owners during the proposed three-month trial period is clearly a positive and encouraging step and we welcome the beginning of a fair and equitable relationship between Apple Music and the global independent music sector.”

Musicians’ Union assistant general secretary Horace Trubridge said it was “unclear” exactly what Apple was proposing. He said: “When they say they will pay, are they paying the publishers and records labels so they can pay the artists, or are they paying the artists direct?”

Swift responded to the good news from Apple on Twitter, telling fans she was “elated and relieved”.

“Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us,” she wrote.

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