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Apple Snags Swift Exclusive

Apple has shown its streaming hand this week, with the announcement of the exclusive release of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ world tour video.

The release will be available in its entirety exclusively to Apple Music members around the world- A Swift turnaround from mere months ago when the pop star called Apple out on its policy of not paying rights holders during its three-month free initial trial period. Of course, Apple relented and has since built a fruitful relationship with Swift as the only audio streaming platform to feature her albums.

All of a sudden, the question is being asked “is this all about video?’ and Music Business Worldwide seems to think so, describing Apple’s ambitions to become the “Netflix of music” and the release “The sort of alignment of interest that a record label dreams about”.

An interesting read but The Gen must ask: Music video may be enjoying a renaissance of sorts in the YouTube era but is there truly a mass market for such a product? Of course, with the emergence of YouTube Red, the streaming stand off is escalating as companies duke it out for exclusives. For example, Tidal is also diving in head first with exclusive live streams of Prince concerts.

The (music) key difference is that whilst YouTube seeks to license existing content under its almighty (though slightly leaky from a rights remuneration perspective) roof, Apple are making Netflix and Amazon style moves to not only license or commission but create content. Think about how Netflix has made strides in boosting subscribers by creating its own shows and announcing that it will add twice as many next year – This is the point at which the platform becomes the studio. And then be afraid. Be very afraid. Or not- after all, this isn’t going to displace record labels overnight but it’s a bold move from Apple.

Back to the film- The 1989 World Tour Live will be available from 20th December and was filmed in front of 76,000 fans at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia on November 28th, 2015 and directed by Jonas Akerlund. The entire performance of the show is captured alongside backstage footage and all the usual bells, whistles and DVD style extras that, lets be honest, you’ll never watch.

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