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.


Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

Updated 08 December 2019

Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

MIAMI: The move was bananas ... or maybe the work was just too appealing.
A performance artist shook up the crowd at the Art Basel show in Miami Beach on Saturday when he grabbed a banana that had been duct-taped to a gallery wall and ate it.
The banana was, in fact, a work of art by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled “Comedian” and sold to a French collector for $120,000.
In a video posted on his Instagram account, David Datuna, who describes himself as a Georgian-born American artist living in New York, walks up to the banana and pulls it off the wall with the duct tape attached.
“Art performance ... hungry artist,” he said, as he peeled the fruit and took a bite. “Thank you, very good.”
A few bystanders could be heard giggling before a flustered gallery official whisked him to an adjoining space for questioning.
But the kerfuffle was resolved without a food fight.
“He did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea,” Lucien Terras, director of museum relations for Galerie Perrotin, told the Miami Herald.
As it turns out, the value of the work is in the certificate of authenticity, the newspaper said. The banana is meant to be replaced.
A replacement banana was taped to the wall about 15 minutes after Datuna’s stunt.
“This has brought a lot of tension and attention to the booth and we’re not into spectacles,” Terras said. “But the response has been great. It brings a smile to a lot of people’s faces.”
Cattelan is perhaps best known for his 18-carat, fully functioning gold toilet called “America” that he had once offered on loan to US President Donald Trump.
The toilet, valued at around $5 to $6 million, was in the news again in September when it was stolen from Britain’s Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of wartime leader Winston Churchill, where it had been on display.