Apple changes its tune after Taylor Swift threatens to pull album
NEW YORK – Taylor Swift appears to have prompted a policy change at Apple, after threatening to withhold her album “1989” from the company’s streaming music service over royalty payments.
Swift’s issue is the three-month free trial period Apple is promoting.
“Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months,” she wrote. “I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”
She added: “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.”
Apple responded to Swift late Sunday night in a series of tweets from Eddy Cue, a key lieutenant of CEO Tim Cook.
“#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period,” Cue tweeted, adding that “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”
Swift quickly acknowledged the change. “I am elated and relieved,” she tweeted. “Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.”
Swift previously removed her albums from Spotify in a dispute over compensation for streaming music.
She explained her decision about Apple in a Tumblr blog post on Sunday morning, several days after her music label confirmed that “1989” wouldn’t be available on the service at launch.
The blog post, “To Apple, Love Taylor,” was immediately shared tens of thousands of times, showing the power of the artist’s megaphone and potentially creating a publicity nightmare for Apple.
Apple announced its Apple Music streaming service earlier this month. The free trial period is seen as a crucial part of the company’s strategy to attract paying subscribers.
An Apple executive previously told Re/code that Apple’s payments for songs “are a few percentage points higher than the industry standard, in part to account for the lengthy trial period; most paid subscription services offer a free one-month trial.”
In the blog post, Swift expressed her love for Apple and said she wasn’t speaking up for herself, but rather for “the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success.”
Swift said she’s been discussing the Apple policy with others: “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.”