Music & Musicians

Taylor Swift slams Spotify, praises Apple

Taylor Swift's Spotify dig
Taylor Swift's Spotify dig

Taylor Swift and Spotify may have broken up last year, but the two still have bad blood.

The 25-year-old Swift earned a reputation as an advocate for artists, songwriters and producers when she removed her music catalog from the streaming service in late 2014.

Most recently the singer-songwriter took on tech giant Apple for not paying professionals during a three-month free trial for its new music streaming service. The company quickly course-corrected and has since agreed to compensate artists.

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Swift opened up in Vanity Fair's September issue about Spotify and Apple's surprising response.

"Apple treated me like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about," Swift told Vanity Fair. "And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine."

Swift, who has traditionally balked at streaming services, agreed to put her "1989" album on Apple Music because of the company's reaction to her open letter.

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Swift was initially hesitant about reaching out to Apple. The artist told Vanity Fair that she was worried "people would say, 'Why won't she shut up about this?' ... My fears were that I would be looked at as someone who just whines and rants about this thing that no one else is really ranting about."

However, Swift created a win-win situation for her personal brand and Apple's, according to Time magazine. The media attention alone is likely to draw millions more potential users to the service.

Swift's plea also convinced two independent music groups—the digital rights organization Merlin and Martin Mills' Beggars Group—to sign deals with Apple Music, according to Fortune. Merlin represents 20,000 labels and distributors worldwide and Beggars has released music from Adele, Radiohead, Jack White and Beck.

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Swift's bold move against Spotify last year landed her on The Guardian's list of the 100 most powerful people in the U.K.'s media.

The publication noted: "Swift has sold more than 30 million albums. But she only came to our attention when she pulled her back catalog from Spotify, almost single-handedly bringing the issue of artist remuneration into the spotlight. Swift was one of Spotify's most popular artists, with 25 percent of listeners having streamed her songs. Her decision to withdraw her music was described as brave by some and reckless by others."

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Spotify declined to comment.

Read the full article in Vanity Fair.