Heard in Europe

Taylor Swift’s dramatic spat with Apple earlier this year appears to have made its mark on US lawmakers.

A top US official referenced the dispute on Wednesday (4 November) in Brussels, adding that aside from Swift, there isn’t much bad blood between American performers and and online content providers.

Daniel Sepulveda, the US coordinator for international communications and information policy, said he thinks internet services that distribute music or other entertainment are generally well managed in the US. But when Apple launched its new streaming service Apple Music this summer, the 25-year-old “Blank Space” hitmaker decided to shake it off and refused to let the company offer her music—without paying her—as part of its free trial.

“One of the most interesting cases was Taylor Swift’s ability to not acknowledge Apple’s policy in the initial launch of their music service,” Sepulveda said.

“You could argue that Taylor Swift is an anomaly… in multiple ways,” he added.

Swift has made news for her high-profile romance with baby-faced British heartthrob Harry Styles and for insuring her youthful legs for a whopping €36 million. But her spats with online music services has also earned her attention from copyright lawyers and tech policy geeks.

Apple should have known the American songbird was trouble when she walked in—she previously withdrew her music from streaming platform Spotify because of the low fees it pays to artists.

Sepulveda suggested Swift’s browbeating of Apple is a sign that online entertainment services don’t call all the shots in the industry.

“It is an interesting example of market power in that this isn’t really such an asymmetrical market as one would argue,” he said.

Apple, Youtube and other streaming services have also come under fire from European artists’ groups, who are lobbying lawmakers to come up with a new copyright law that would require those companies pay performers for distributing their work. The European Commission is expected to propose an EU-wide copyright reform early next year.

Remuneration for streaming? Sounds like Taylor Swift’s wildest dreams come true.

We already she’s serious about tech policy. SecuriTay has been enlightening us with her tweets (from a parody account) about online security for a while now.

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