Pop singer Taylor Swift has used her heavy-hitting status in the music industry to call out Apple over its new music streaming service, Apple Music. The tech giant has responded to the royalty dispute by changing its policy on compensating artists.
Taylor Swift on Tumblr: “It Is Unfair to Ask Anyone to Work for Nothing”
Swift spoke out against Apple Music in a Sunday Tumblr post titled “To Apple, Love Taylor.” In the letter, she stated that she would not be putting her latest album, “1989,” on the new streaming service. Swift noted that this was in response to Apple Music’s free three-month trial period.
“Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months,” wrote Swift. “I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”
The singer also noted that Apple certainly has the funds to offer free streaming without forcing artists to also wait to see income from Apple Music. Apple’s “Services” division in particular — which includes iTunes, the App Store and Apple Pay — generates $5 billion in three months, according to an earnings report from Motley Fool.
“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 [three-month] trial period… even if it is free for the fans trying it out,” Swift wrote. “Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.”
Apple Music Responds to Royalty Dispute By Paying Artists
Eddy Cue, who is leading the launch of Apple Music and reports directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, responded to Swift’s complaint. He first tweeted: “Apple will always make sure that artist [sic] are paid #iTunes #AppleMusic.” He followed it up shortly with another tweet:
#AppleMusic will pay artist [sic] for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period
— Eddy Cue (@cue) June 22, 2015
Cue’s last tweet clarified that this policy change was a response to Swift’s criticism and concerns voiced by other artists: “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.” He also told Billboard that Swift’s remarks “really solidified that we needed to make a change” and prompted the policy change.
For Swift, this was the happy ending she was hoping for. She responded on Twitter, “I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.”