Taylor Swift, music’s guardian white angel, just got Apple to come up off its money stacks.
Apple originally had no intention of compensating artists, songwriters or producers during the free three-month trial period for users.
To Apple, Love Taylor
I write this to explain why I’ll be holding back my album, 1989, from the new streaming service, Apple Music. I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries.
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.
Swift, as she does, kept the letter polite and sugary while positioning herself as a mouthpiece for frustrated artists. Still, it’s best read while imagining her screaming from a mountaintop:
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.
The letter also asks Apple to kindly reconsider its policy because “we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period” and “it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.”
This was apparently all it took for Apple to change its policy.
Apple’s senior VP of internet services, Eddy Cue, spoke to Swift over the phone to reassure her that her power is infinite. Cue told The Hollywood Reporter:
“I let her know that we heard her concerns and are making the changes. I wanted her to hear directly with from us. We’ve had a long relationship with Taylor...
“She was thrilled and very thankful. You can tell by the letter she wrote that she’s a great admirer of Apple and we’ve done a lot of great work together. So she was really excited to see how quickly we responded and thrilled that we did.”
It’s certainly a coup for all musicians but mostly the independent acts who really need this.
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