The tech business week: Taylor Swift vs Apple and Digicel IPO

29 Jun 2015

A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, including, Taylor Swift takes on Apple and Digicel files for an IPO.

Taylor Swift takes on Apple Music’s decision to not pay artists — and wins

In the swiftest and most effective act of lobbying of the digital age, artist Taylor Swift has effectively forced Apple to pay musicians per stream during the three-month trial period for Apple Music.

“It is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing,” Swift said in a Tumblr post at the weekend that hit out at Apple’s strange decision to not pay artists for songs streamed during the three-month period when it is offering the new streaming platform for free.

Swift threatened to hold back her new album 1989 from the Apple iTunes and Apple Music libraries in protest at the injustice she felt was being perpetrated against her and fellow artists.

Denis O’Brien’s Digicel to float on New York Stock Exchange

Denis O’Brien’s Caribbean and South Pacific-focused telecoms company Digicel has filed to IPO on the New York Stock Exchange and plans to raise up to US$200m.

Digicel provides mobile communications services to 13.6m subscribers in 31 markets across the Caribbean and South Pacific regions. This includes more than 11m in the Caribbean and more than 3m in the South Pacific.

It is understood that the number of shares to be offered and their price ranges have yet to be determined.

ESB wins €17m renewable energy contract in Saudi Arabia

ESB International’s global engineering consultancy has secured a €17m contract with the Saudi Electricity Company to manage a power generation project that will generate enough electricity to power 1m homes.

ESB International defeated competitors from Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany and Switzerland to win the prestigious contract.

The contract announcement coincides with ESB International’s 40thanniversary. In recent weeks, ESB revealed that ESB International had won €64m in contracts to work in countries including Saudi Arabia and Ghana.

ESB will project manage the construction of a highly-efficient gas-fired Combined Cycle power plant in a developing region of Saudi Arabia.

Mark Little leaves Storyful 

After founding Storyful five years ago and selling it just over a year ago to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for €18m, Mark Little is off to pastures new.

“Storyful was an unlikely story from the beginning. I founded the company because I wanted to prove that the eternal values of quality journalism mattered more than ever in the age of social media,” Little wrote in his blog.

“And I was determined to prove that the very best journalism is still a great business model.”

1Gbps broadband speeds are coming to Ireland this September

A €20m deal agreed between Eircom Wholesale and Pure Telecom will see Pure’s customers access 100Mbps broadband and also become the first to access Eircom’s 1Gbps fibre-to-the-home service when it launches in September.

The partnership means Pure Telecom customers can connect to Eircom Wholesale’s high-speed fibre broadband, which offers speeds of up to 100Mbps to 1.2 million homes and businesses nationwide, a figure which represents approximately 50pc of the total premises in Ireland.

This will rise to 70pc by 2016, and 80pc by 2020, by which time 35pc of all premises will have broadband speeds of 1Gbps.

AIB creates €5m fund to invest in sustainable technology start-ups

AIB’s CEO Bernard Byrne has committed to a new €5m equity fund to assist start-up companies specialising in the sustainable technologies sector to address “a gap in the ecosystem here”.

Byrne said the bank will work alongside the International Sustainability Investment Centre to leverage the €5 million equity provided by AIB.

Other recent green initiatives by the bank include plans to build a 225KW roof-top solar plant at its headquarters in Dublin and a co-operation framework with ENERCON, a European supplier of wind turbines, to help small wind farm developers cut out red tape and reduce costs.


Taylor Swift image via Shutterstock

Brigid O Gorman is a former sub-editor of Silicon Republic.