In a Tumblr post over the weekend, Taylor Swift voiced her disapproval of Apple’s streaming music promotion. It’s a great deal for consumers, as they will receive three free months of Apple Music, Cupertino’s competitor to services like Google Play All Access and Spotify. However, the tech giant initially refused to pay out royalties to artists on the streams played during that free promo.
Apple wanted to make their new service popular on the backs of musicians, with a service which will likely cut into album sales, and for the privilege of “Apple Music Exposure” and lower album sales, they weren’t going to pay musicians a dime.
In response to this policy Swift wrote:
This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.
Thankfully she’s high enough profile, that this blog post made a lot of noise. This morning Apple Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddie Cue posted this on Twitter:
#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period
— Eddy Cue (@cue) June 22, 2015
It was the right play on Apple’s part as they’re way late to the streaming music game, and we’ve seen how other newcomers like Tidal have fared when hit with bad press. As they’re currently sitting on a war chest of over a hundred billion dollars, there never should have been any debate as to whether they would pay artists the pittance they receive for streams. Happily they’re on the correct track now.
I can honestly say I never thought I would ever side with Taylor Swift on a technology debate, but I’m sure many artists today are happy for her involvement.