Taylor Swift may seem like an innocent, desolate pop star but she and her label Big Machine Records are as powerful as one can get in the music industry.
So when she voiced her disdain for Apple Music’s three-month trial period that skimmed out on paying royalties during the test run and also announced that her hit album, 1989, would not be available on the new streaming service, everybody sat up in their seats and paid attention.
Part of her statement read —
I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.
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.
These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child. These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much. We simply do not respect this particular call.
I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress. We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period… even if it is free for the fans trying it out.
Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.
It wasn’t even a full 24 hours that transpired when Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, responded via Twitter and spoke for the entire company.
“Apple will always make sure that artist are paid,” he wrote. “Apple Music will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period. We hear you Taylor Swift and indie artists. Love, Apple.”
Afterwards, Cue told Billboard, “When I woke up this morning and saw what Taylor had written, it really solidified that we needed a change. And so that’s why we decide we will now pay artists during the trial period.”
Taylor’s op-ed not only helps promote her latest album but the near future releases from the likes of Miguel, The Game, Ghostface Killah, Vince Staples, The-Dream and more.
Sometimes it pays to be the boss. Flip through the gallery to see how the timeline of events unfolded last night. Apple Music launches on June 30.
Photo: Winston Burris/WENN.com