Swift makes Apple Music flip-flop on artist pay

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Apple and Swift
Apple heard Swift… and obeyed the queen!

Country star and pop icon Taylor Swift is not only a record-breaking musician with loads of cash and awards, she’s also a very sharp businesswoman. She challenged the music streaming industry’s miserly sharing of profits with artists last year, when she pulled her music from Spotify, and now she’s taking on Apple Music.

When the world’s most valuable company said they wouldn’t pay artists for songs used during three-month free trial periods for new users, Swift swiftly wrote a public letter on Tumblr that made them reverse course.

The very politely but firmly worded post, titled “To Apple, Love Taylor”, spoke out on behalf of less fortunate artists who would be robbed by Apple’s move.

“This is not about me,” stated Swift. “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.”

Apple Music image
Apple Music hopes to give traditional record labels a run for their money.

Apple totally backflipped in less than 24 hours, promising Swift and other artists that it would now pay them during the three-month trial period. Eddy Cue, Apple’s media chief, told Billboard magazine that when he woke up in the morning and saw what Taylor had written “it really solidified that we needed to make a change.” He even went on Twitter to assure Swift, her fans, and other musicians that Apple heard them loud and clear.

See, ever since the rise of music piracy in the 90s with programs like Napster, the music industry has dramatically changed. Rather than adapting to the change, most of the big record companies resorted to suing people in court. It wasn’t until Apple’s innovative iPod and iTunes store that digital song purchases became a popular way to legitimately pick up your favorite tunes.

So, it’s no surprise that Apple Music is keeping a very close pulse on the music business, and that includes responding to pop culture royalty like Swift. After all, Apple didn’t become such an industry standard for innovation in computers, phones, tablets, and entertainment, by just putting its head in the ground like an ostrich. Still, Swift definitely won this chess match.


Images of Apple Music courtesy of Apple. Image of Taylor Swift courtesy of Taylor Swift Facebook.