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Taylor Swift’s label boss reveals more details of Apple Music negotiations

Taylor Swift wrote her famous To Apple, Love Taylor blog post protesting at the company’s music-streaming royalties plans without the knowledge of her record label, its boss has revealed.

Big Machine Label Group CEO Scott Borchetta had no complaints about Swift’s decision to criticise Apple, however.

In an appearance at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, he claimed that Swift unwittingly backed up his own negotiations with Apple over its plans not to pay royalties during the three-month free trial of its new Spotify rival.

“The conversation started with myself and the executives of Apple, just as a label group conversation of ‘I can’t support this: you need to pay us from the first stream’,” said Borchetta during his on-stage interview at the conference.

“And those conversations were leading up to the weekend where Taylor posted the blog. She and I hadn’t spoken that week, so she literally texted me, she said ‘Don’t be mad’ with the link… I said ‘you don’t have any idea how good your timing is right now…”

Swift’s blog post described Apple’s plans as “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company”, following a week of increasingly-vocal protests from independent labels about the policy.

A day later, Apple announced a u-turn, with senior executive Eddy Cue crediting Swift and independent artists with forcing the change. Borchetta claimed that he also played a role in changing the company’s mind, in a conference call that weekend.

“Here’s the good news: you haven’t launched yet. You can do the right thing. And if you do the right thing, the artist community globally is going to look at you as the good guy,” he said.

However, Borchetta was joined on-stage at Brainstorm Tech by music manager and tech investor Scooter Braun, who pointed out that others were also arguing with Apple about its plans.

“Everyone was fighting that fight. There was a huge fight going on behind the scenes. I think that Taylor pushed it over the edge,” said Braun, adding that if Apple had not changed its policy “there would have been a lot of trouble”.



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