Thursday 22 August 2019

Swift rejects photographer's claims

Tayor Swift condemned Apple Music's
Tayor Swift condemned Apple Music's "shocking and disappointing" decision not to pay for songs streamed during a three-month trial period

Taylor Swift has hit back at a photographer who accused her of hypocrisy following her criticism of Apple's latest music streaming service.

The American singer-songwriter said Jason Sheldon had "misrepresented" her photography agreement when he branded her "guilty of the very same tactic" as the technology giant.

Swift said in a strongly-worded online statement that it was "shocking and disappointing" that Apple had decided not to pay for songs streamed during a three-month trial period of Apple Music.

But Mr Sheldon challenged the Shake It Off star's photo policy, which he said gives her "free and unlimited use of our work, worldwide, in perpetuity".

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."

Apple have since made a U-turn on their policy of not paying for songs in the trial period.

Swift wrote an 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.

The Shake It Off singer 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".

Her comments prompted a response from Apple executive, Eddy Cue, who tweeted to say that musicians would be paid.

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?

"Also, it's one thing if you are an act like Taylor Swift and have that market share and commercial power, but if you're an act with a major label from the 1970s or 1980s, which is where a lot of the streamed music is from, you've probably got a crap contract that does not pay out much for streaming."

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.

Swift is due to perform in Glasgow and Manchester this week.

This weekend she will perform at the Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time gig in Hyde Park.

PA Media

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