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Former Pandora Exec: Taylor Swift’s Apple Fight ‘Mostly Theater’

2 minute read

Pandora’s former Chief Technology Officer Tom Conrad took to Twitter Monday to address what’s become a very public spat between Apple and pop superstar Taylor Swift over the Cupertino company’s new music streaming service.

Over the weekend, Swift wrote that she will not be making her newest album, “1989,” available on Apple Music. Swift’s decision came amid Apple’s refusal to pay musicians for any streams during a three-month free trial period for users (Apple Music has no free tier after that three-month period; it costs $9.99 a month afterwards). While Swift acknowledged her financial success means she can afford to miss out on that revenue, she argued that newer artists just starting out will be missing out on income they’ve rightfully earned.

Just hours after Swift’s post went live, Apple reversed course, with the company’s SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue announcing the about-face on Twitter.

But Conrad isn’t buying any of it. He argues that the most popular music streaming services, like Pandora, YouTube, and Spotify, all pay artists when users listen to their music through free tiers or trials.

Here’s the full thread from Conrad:

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