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Music Artists Take On the Business, Calling for Change

New York Times 2015-08-03

Musicians are known for speaking out on issues like human rights, politics and the environment. They are less known for speaking out about how the music business itself should operate.

That may be changing.

When Taylor Swift publicly rebuked Apple in June over royalty payments, the company reversed its position and Ms. Swift’s move was celebrated throughout the music world as a victory. But it was only the most prominent example of a growing trend of industry-focused activism undertaken by a range of artists, from big stars who take a principled stand to middle-class musicians who need to worry about paying the bills.

“We’re at a turning point,” said the singer David Byrne, formerly of Talking Heads, who has been vocal on the economics behind digital music. “Musicians, their managers and many others are frustrated. The black box of hidden transactions in the music business, while maybe not illegal, is a recipe for chicanery.”

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