Taylor Swift appears to have prompted a policy change at Apple, after threatening to withhold her album “1989” from the company’s streaming music service over royalty payments.
Swift’s issue is the three-month free trial period Apple is promoting.
“Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months,” she wrote. “I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”
She added: “It’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
Apple responded to Swift late Sunday night in a series of tweets from Eddy Cue, a key lieutenant of CEO Tim Cook.
“#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period,” Cue tweeted, adding that “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”
Swift quickly acknowledged the change. “I am elated and relieved,” she tweeted. “Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.”
Swift previously removed her albums from Spotify in a dispute over compensation for streaming music. She explained her decision about Apple in a Tumblr blog post on Sunday morning, several days after her music label confirmed that “1989” wouldn’t be available on the service at launch.
The blog post, “To Apple, Love Taylor,” was immediately shared tens of thousands of times, showing the power of the artist’s megaphone and potentially creating a publicity nightmare for Apple.
Reactions to this news is mixed. Some people are praising Tay Tay for sticking up for the little artists. Others say she’s just a greedy bitch.
I think she’s right, legally and morally. Apple has to pay royalties to musicians when they play that artist’s music. The fact that Tay Tay doesn’t need the money is irrelevant. Apple can’t get out of paying royalties by giving away the music for free.
Apple’s whole purpose is to get people to sign up for their streaming music service. The cost of that service includes a calculation for recouping any losses from those three “free” months of service.
So Apple gets paid. Why shouldn’t the artists?
I suspect that Apple’s lawyers told them that if they got sued they would lose. That’s why big companies have a legal department that is supposed to review the stuff that marketing dreams up.