Yes, I know, Bitch Better Have My Money is RiRi‘s anthem, but Tay Tay put the feeling to good use. Taylor Swift penned an open letter to Apple Music on her Tumblr explaining why her album 1989 wouldn’t be on Apple’s new streaming service when it launches June 30th. In the note (below) “To Apple, Love Taylor,” Swift takes issue with Apple Music’s free three-month trial for users, a period of time in which the service will not compensate artists for what is streamed. It seems though, Apple heard her loud and clear and the company has backed down and changed course, telling The Hollywood Reporter Swift’s words hit home. Shirley Halperin talked with Apple Senior VP of internet services and software Eddy Cue;
Was this decision prompted by Taylor Swift’s letter?
We’ve been hearing a lot of concern from indie artists about not getting paid during the three-month trial period, which was never our intent. We never looked at it as not paying them.
We had originally negotiated these deals based on paying them a higher royalty rate on an ongoing basis to compensate for this brief time. But when I woke up this morning and saw what Taylor had written, it really solidified that we needed to make a change. And so that’s why we decided we will now pay artists during the trial period and we’ll also keep the royalty rate at the higher rate.
Did you reach out to Taylor?
I actually did talk to Taylor today and I let her know that we heard her concerns and are making the changes. She’s on tour in the UK and she was in Amsterdam. I wanted her to hear directly with from us. We’ve had a long relationship with Taylor.
How did she react?
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.
Is Apple eating the cost?
We’re certainly paying for it yes. We’re all in. But we view this as music is a part of our DNA — we talk about it a lot. We love music and we’ve always strived to have great relationships with the music community and have a deep respect for what they do. We’re in this for the long term.
What was the original thinking behind asking the labels to agree to free for 90 days?
First thing is we’re promoting great music, so we wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to try it out and have experience with it so that’s what the trial period is there for. Once the trial period is over, they would [either] convert to a paying customer or they would decide that the service is not for them and so we thought that by giving them that time, people would see this revolutionary streaming service, the first worldwide live international radio station, how fans can connect with their favorite artists.
Has the PR battle surprised you?
Going through all of this to get to the right place and get a great service to fans, that’s the really important part.
Does Taylor Swift now speak for all artists?
Well, we’ve heard from other indie artist, but she’s a great artist herself and it’s great when she speaks up on what her positions are.
Guess the last line of the letter was JUST enough shade (“with all due respect”) to get their attention;
“We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
“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.
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.
I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress. 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 3 month trial period… even if it is free for the fans trying it out.
Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.
But I say to Apple with all due respect, 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.”
(via The Hollywood Reporter)