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Apple changes tune on streaming royalties after Taylor Swift protest

Tech giant Apple has caved in to pressure after pop superstar Taylor Swift made a public protest over streaming payments. The company now says it will pay artists for streams of music during customers' trial periods.

Apple Music made the about-face late on Sunday, after Swift withdrew her best-selling album "1989" from the music streaming service.

The singer made her protest after the company said it did not plan to pay artists for streams of their music made by customers during a free three-month trial period.

The 25-year-old said she would refuse to allow her music to be streamed, and expressed shock that Apple had taken the decision.

"I find it to be shocking, disappointing and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company," Swift posted in an open letter #link:http://taylorswift.tumblr.com/post/122071902085/to-apple-love-taylor# on the website Tumblr.

"These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child," Swift wrote. "We don't ask you for free iPhones. Please don't ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation."

The artist claimed the protest was aimed at ensuring that young songwriters were compensated for their work. "This is not about me," she said.

Later on Sunday, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue said Apple would pay artists for streams in all stages. Cue tweeted the decision, saying he was moved to act on existing concerns from a number of artists after Swift went public.

Following the news, and having received a swell of support from followers on Twitter, Swift tweeted her response to fans.

Despite the public tiff, Swift has supported Apple's efforts to oust streaming rival Spotify from its position as market leader.

Swift removed all her music from the Swedish company's catalogue last year, protesting at the advertising-financed version of the service, which is available to users for free.

rc/msh (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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