Taylor Swift had a birthday present for her fans on Sunday.
Swift and Apple said Sunday that subscribers to the Apple Music service will have exclusive access to a concert video shot during the pop’s star’s recently concluded world concert tour. The film, which will be released December 20, features on-stage performances as well as backstage scenes from a concert performed last month at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia.
“Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes,”Swift wrote on Sunday, her 26th birthday. “I have a little surprise for you.”
The deal deepens the ties Apple and Swift have developed since the pair had a falling-out earlier this year. In June, just days before the launch of the music-streaming service from the Cupertino, California-based company, the singer publicly chastised Apple for its decision to withhold royalty payments to artists during a three-month free trial of Apple Music.
Swift called the policy “shocking” and “disappointing” and threatened to withhold her blockbuster album “1989” from the streaming service. Later that day, Apple’s head of software and services, Eddy Cue, tweeted that the electronics giant would capitulate and pay all artists for every stream during the trial period.
The whirlwind drama was quickly resolved, but the conversation on social media between two of the biggest names in music revived a public debate about how streaming-music services treat artists. Musicians such as Swift complain that streaming formats don’t compensate artists fairly.
Apple Music offers recommendations based on songs purchased from Apple’s iTunes Store, ripped from CDs or chosen on-demand from an online catalog of more than 30 million titles. It also includes a 24/7 radio station called Beats 1 and a service called Connect, where artists can present themselves to fans and share songs directly to their iPhones.
Since Apple Music launched in June, 6.5 million people have signed on as paying subscribers, CEO Tim Cook said in October, with another 8.5 million people participating in the music service’s 90-day free trial. By comparison, rival music service Spotify has 25 million paid members and another 50 million who listen for free.