Apple Music Opens New Front In Streaming Debate

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Taylor Swift takes on Apple over royalties and wins. We’ll look at the latest battles in music streaming – the players, the artists, and the music itself.

Taylor Swift accepts the award for top artist at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Las Vegas.  (AP)
Taylor Swift accepts the award for top artist at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP)

It took less than a day for Taylor Swift to turn around one of the richest companies on earth – Apple – and bend it to her will. Message number one: don’t mess with Taylor Swift. Message number two: this music streaming business – the arena where Ms. Swift took on Apple Music – is still a work in progress. “We don’t ask you for free iPhones,” she wrote in an open letter Sunday morning. “Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.” Not even for just three months. This hour On Point: Taylor Swift’s bite out of Apple and the future of music streaming.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Kelsey McKinney, culture staff writer at Fusion. (@mckinneykelsey)

John Seabrook, staff writer at the New Yorker. Author of the forthcoming book, "The Song Machine: Inside The Hit Factory." (@jmseabrook)

From Tom’s Reading List

Tumblr: To Apple, Love Taylor — "Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right."

Fusion: Taylor Swift’s feud with the music industry shouldn’t end here — "This is a win for Swift and a win for the music industry, but the deal should have seemed inherently wrong to begin with. The fact that executives at Apple could consider offering music for free for three months — never thinking of it as not paying artists — shows how distant companies can be from the people whose work they are using. Most artists can’t just pull their songs out of Apple’s service; the industry doesn’t allow it."

New Yorker: Apple’s Music Revolution That Isn’t — "Creaky stagecraft notwithstanding, Apple has clear advantages over its competitors. Prime among these is its market muscle. Spotify’s revenues have been growing, but it lost a hundred and ninety-seven million dollars in 2014. Apple, meanwhile, posted a profit of eighteen billion dollars earlier this year, the highest quarterly figure reported by any company, ever. It also possesses the credit-card numbers of eight hundred million of its customers, and has placed more than a billion iOS devices in people’s hands around the world."

Usher And Justin Bieber Made To Entertain Copyright Lawsuit

John Kellogg, assistant chair of the music business and management department at the Berklee College of Music. Author of "Take Care Of Your Music Business." (@kellogglaw)

Reuters: Justin Bieber, Usher ordered to face copyright lawsuit — "Justin Bieber and Usher were ordered by a U.S. appeals court on Thursday to face a $10 million lawsuit claiming the singers illegally copied parts of a song composed by two Virginia songwriters. By a 3-0 vote, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond revived a May 2013 lawsuit by Devin Copeland, an R&B singer known as De Rico, and his songwriting partner Mareio Overton, saying a lower court judge was wrong to dismiss it."

Producer's Note: Because Ms. Swift has removed her latest album, '1989' from Spotify, we were unable to create a proper playlist for this hour. 

This program aired on June 23, 2015.



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