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Taylor Swift accused of 'double standards' by photographer Jason Sheldon

Published 22/06/2015

Taylor Swift told Apple artists should be compensated for their music which prompted response from photographer Jason Sheldon
Taylor Swift told Apple artists should be compensated for their music which prompted response from photographer Jason Sheldon

Taylor Swift's challenge to Apple to pay acts on its streaming service has seen her accused of hypocrisy after details emerged of her attempts to control photographers covering her concerts.

The Shake It Off singer, 25, said she would hold back her latest album 1989 from Apple Music in protest at the technology giant's "shocking and disappointing" decision not to pay for songs streamed during a three-month trial period.

Writing online, she said it was "unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing", prompting an Apple executive to tweet this morning that the musicians would be paid.

But it also prompted a less complimentary reply from photographer Jason Sheldon, who posted what he said was a copy of her photo policy which gives her "free and unlimited use of our work, worldwide, in perpetuity".

He said: "How are you any different to Apple? If you don't like being exploited, that's great ... make a huge statement about it, and you'll have my support. But how about making sure you're not guilty of the very same tactic before you have a pop at someone else?

"Photographers need to earn a living as well."

Swift's stand against Apple came after she withdrew her entire catalogue from popular streaming service Spotify in November.

She said she was making a stand not for herself but for new artists and bands, young songwriters and producers who would not be paid for a quarter of a year of plays.

A UK spokesperson for Swift said the standard photography agreement had been misrepresented: "It clearly states that any photographer shooting The 1989 World Tour has the opportunity for further use of said photographs with management’s approval.

"Another distinct misrepresentation is the claim that the copyright of the photographs will be with anyone other than the photographer - this agreement does not transfer copyright away from the photographer. Every artist has the right to and should protect the use of their name and likeness.”


Apple's U-turn was given a cautious welcome by music industry figures.

Alison Wenham, from the Worldwide Independent Network which represents the independent music industry, said: "The decision from Apple to pay royalties to rights owners during the proposed three-month trial period is clearly a positive and encouraging step and we welcome the beginning of a fair and equitable relationship between Apple Music and the global independent music sector."

Musicians' Union assistant general secretary Horace Trubridge said it was "unclear" exactly what Apple was proposing. He said: "When they say they will pay, are they paying the publishers and records labels so they can pay the artists, or are they paying the artists direct?

"Also, it's one thing if you are an act like Taylor Swift and have that market share and commercial power, but if you're an act with a major label from the 1970s or 1980s, which is where a lot of the streamed music is from, you've probably got a crap contract that does not pay out much for streaming."

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