Apple caves to Taylor Swift and decides to pay artists during its 3-month Apple Music customer trial period
Less than a day after Taylor Swift called Apple’s decision not to pay musicians any royalties during its three-month free trial period of Apple Music “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company” on Tumblr, the company has changed its position.
Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue announced on Twitter that the company had reversed its decision and would pay artists even during the customers’ free trial period.
“Apple will make sure that artists are paid,” Cue tweeted, continuing: “Apple Music will pay artists for streaming even during customers’ free trial period. We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”
Following the announcement, Swift wrote on Twitter that she was “elated and relieved” at Apple’s decision.
Last week, BuzzFeed reported that Swift had pulled her wildly popular “1989” album from Apple Music because of the streaming service’s decision not to pay royalties during its three-month trial period. That followed her decision last year to remove “1989” from Spotify because she didn’t think the company gave enough money to artists.
Swift’s post decrying Apple’s lack of initial royalties got plenty of attention Sunday, and Apple listened to her criticism.
“I did reach out to Taylor today, and talked to her, and let her know that we heard her concerns, and wanted her to know that we were making changes,” Cue told Re/code on Sunday evening. “She was thrilled to hear from us and that we were making the change, and we were grateful for that.”
Cue added that Swift’s letter, in combination with complaints from other artists, made Apple change its policy.
Apple originally had planned to pay music owners 71.5% of Apple Music’s subscription revenue after the trial period ended, Re/code previously reported, which was “a few percentage points higher than the industry standard,” to account for the longer trial period.
Now, Cue tells Re/code that Apple plans to pay rights holders on a per-stream basis, though he didn’t disclose the amount the company would pay per stream.
Swift responded positively to the announcement.
I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.
Apple Music will officially launch June 30, with every potential customer receiving a three-month trail period before paying $9.99 monthly.