Apple Music Will Pay Artists During Trial Period, Thanks to Taylor Swift
Indie musicians needed a hero and that hero turned out to be Taylor Swift.
On Sunday (June 21), Swift threatened to pull her music from Apple's new streaming service, Apple Music, until the company rolled back its policy of not paying artists during Apple Music's three-month trial period. Apple promptly responded by reversing the policy.
"#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period," Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue tweeted. "We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple."
In a post on her Tumblr blog titled "To Apple, Love Taylor," Swift wrote earlier on Sunday that until the company changed course, she would withhold streaming her hit 2014 album 1989. "I find it to be shocking, disappointing and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company," Swift wrote. "I say to Apple with all due respect, 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."
For weeks, indie label groups around the world, including A2IM, the biggest consortium of American indies, have decried Apple's policy of not paying for three months. But it apparently took a star the size of Swift to get the company to reverse course.
Before making the policy change, Apple said they would pay artists at a higher rate once the trial period is over, to offset the three-month period. But artists, including Swift, pointed out that it meant artists releasing singles during the trial period would find themselves uncompensated for what would likely be the single's highest-earning period.
"This is not about me. Thankfully I... can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows," she wrote. "This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success."
Cue told the Associated Press that Swift's post was instrumental in getting the company to change their minds. "When I woke up this morning and I saw Taylor's note that she had written, it really solidified that we needed to make a change," said Cue, who called Swift personally to let her know about the policy change.