Spotify nemesis Swift ends streaming boycott

Taylor Swift during the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 10 June 2017

Spotify nemesis Swift ends streaming boycott

NEW YORK: Once Spotify’s most visible critic, pop superstar Taylor Swift on Friday returned her music to all streaming services as the number of artists to boycott the booming format dwindles.
All of the 27-year-old singer’s music including “1989,” her blockbuster last album, appeared on Spotify and other platforms at midnight (0400 GMT) on the US East Coast.
Swift’s team said the move was meant to mark “1989” hitting 10 million sales worldwide and certification that the teen country music prodigy turned pop sensation had sold 100 million singles in the US.
But the timing of Swift’s return to streaming services raises eyebrows — her music went online at the exact moment that fellow pop mega-star Katy Perry released her new album “Witness.”
“Taylor wants to thank her fans by making her entire back catalog available to all streaming services,” it said in a statement.
When she released “1989” in late 2014, Swift refused to put it on Spotify, by far the largest streaming service, and yanked her entire catalog off it. Swift accused Spotify of devaluing artists by essentially giving music away for free, pointing to the platform’s advertising-backed tier that gives access to non-subscribers.
The feud brought a defensive reaction from the Swedish company which argued that it was a rare source of growth in the long-beleaguered music industry.
Spotify says it paid back $5 billion to songs’ copyright holders as of September 2016, the last time it updated the figure it had given in response to Swift. But much has changed even in the two and a half years since Swift’s row with Spotify.
Streaming — which offers unlimited, on-demand music online — has soared, led by a growth in paid subscriptions.
Streaming revenue grew worldwide by more than 60 percent last year alone, according to the IFPI trade body. Most other major artists who refused to stream their music have relented, including the estates of late pop icon Prince and The Beatles, rock legend Neil Young and country music giant Garth Brooks.
Swift and Perry have a barely concealed rivalry. Perry’s latest album features the song “Swish Swish” in which she boasts of her success to a rival — presumably Swift — accused of bad-mouthing her.


Indian man wears gold face mask to ward off coronavirus

Updated 04 July 2020

Indian man wears gold face mask to ward off coronavirus

  • The precious metal covering weighs 60 grams (two ounces) and took craftsmen eight days to make

PUNE: An Indian man said he paid about $4,000 for a bespoke gold face mask to protect him from the coronavirus raging in the country.
The precious metal covering weighs 60 grams (two ounces) and took craftsmen eight days to make, said businessman Shankar Kurhade, from the western city of Pune.
“It is a thin mask and has tiny pores that is helping me to breathe,” Shankar told AFP.
“I am not sure if it will be effective to protect me from a coronavirus infection but I am taking other precautions,” he added.
When going out, the 49-year-old said he likes to adorn himself with gold jewelry weighing a kilogramme, including a bracelet, necklace and rings on each finger of his right hand.
Kurhade — whose company makes industrial sheds — said he got the idea for the gold face mask after seeing a media report about a man wearing one made from silver.
“People are asking me for selfies,” he said.
“They are awestruck when they see me wearing the gold mask in markets.”
India has made face masks mandatory in public places in a bid to control the spread of the virus in the country, which has around 650,000 confirmed cases and more than 18,600 fatalities.