This week, Taylor Swift posted an odd letter to Apple to her site: “To Apple, Love Taylor

It included such fawning language as

  • … Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries…
  • … because we admire and respect Apple so much…
  • … this incredible company…
  • … I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done…

But, amongst that was the clear message to Apple that not paying artists during the three months free trial period for Apple Music was just not on. Hours later, Apple surrendered.

The power of the artist?

Or clever PR stunt to get potential users interested in the new product?

We won’t really know but my and Twitter’s money is on the latter:

The media had their fun with it, coming up with some cracking headlines, none better than this effort by The Times: “Taylor Swift makes Apple crumble“, while The Guardian and The Metro looked at what other problems Taylor Swift could now focus her new-found power on.

In the end, both Taylor Swift and Apple walked away with some very good positive PR.

A quick update on Twitter

After last week’s attempt to shed light on why Twitter it isn’t making any money and concluding that it’s due to its inability to attract and keep new users and that new features are solely aimed at keeping advertisers happy, Twitter announced Project Lightning.

On Twitter’s mobile app, there will be a new button in the center of the home row. Press it and you’ll be taken to a screen that will show various events taking place that people are tweeting about. These could be based on prescheduled events like Coachella, the Grammys, or the NBA Finals. But they might also focus on breaking news and ongoing events, like the Nepalese earthquake or Ferguson, Missouri. Essentially, if it’s an event that a lot of people are tweeting about, Twitter could create an experience around it.

Some more on these events

  • They’ll be an image-lead, curated collection of tweets put together by Twitter’s editorial team (I suspect we’ll also see some paid for events)
  • Each tweet, picture, or video (yup, Vine and Periscope is integrated) will take up the entire screen of your phone, a la Snapchat. You’ll view them one at a time by swiping
  • Media will start playing automatically – and instantly if you believe Twitter
  • You can also chose to follow an event and have curated tweets blended into your timeline – whether you follow the accounts that make it into the curated event or not
  • Finally, you can access these events on or off Twitter

So, not only have Twitter finally announced something genuinely new, this could also make it easier for Twitter newbies who are used to consuming a feed of social news rather than having to curate it themselves.

The media seems to agree: Wired reckons that if Twitter does this right, Lightning will make Twitter more accessible, simpler, and friendlier while Fortune calls the new feature something that Twitter users might actually want.

Bits and bytes

Videos of the week

Fabulous tongue and cheek film by the Norwegian Womens Football team explaining why they are so shit at football.

I really enjoyed this series of films by Unicef for their #BeatDisease campaign featuring Andy Murray, Liam Payne, Clare Balding, Jack Whitehall and Richard Ayoade.

Samsung’s safety truck uses cameras mounted at the front and a large screen mounted to the rear to show motorists when it’s safe to overtake.

‘World Wide What?’ shows us what life would be like for the greatest tech entrepreneurs if Sir Tim Berners Lee had never invented the World Wide Web. The film, narrated by Stephen Fry, celebrates 10 years of Founders Forum and aims to raise awareness for The Web Foundation.

And finally

This Aussie bloke proposed to his girlfriend in a packed cinema and makes it harder for all that come after him…