Well, that was fast.
In the age of lightning-quick streaming music services, even what were once epic artist standoffs are now instant affairs, apparently.
On Sunday morning, Taylor Swift took to Tumblr to announce that she would be withholding her latest album, the platinum-selling “1989,” from Apple’s soon-to-launch subscription music service.
“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,” the pop star wrote on her personal page. “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.”
“These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child,” she added. “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.”
In her Tumblr post, titled “To Apple, Love Taylor,” Swift added that the “astronomically successful Apple” has more than enough money to pay artists less fortunate than her. The company is currently worth $742 billion, according to Forbes.
“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,” Swift concluded. “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
It didn’t take long for Apple to respond.
In a series of tweets, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, apologized for the flap and promised to reverse his company’s policy.
“When I woke up this morning and read Taylor’s note, it really solidified that we need to make a change,” Cue told the New York Times. He told the newspaper that Apple’s plan had been to eventually pay a slightly higher royalty rate to compensate for the initial unpaid trial period, but that the company had listened to the complaints of Swift and small record labels.
It seems as if Swift has already moved on.
She posted her own cheery message on Twitter early Monday morning, shortly after playing a show in Amsterdam.
This isn’t the first time that Swift has taken on the streaming music industry. In November, she pulled “1989” and the rest of her songs off another streaming music service, Spotify. (Launched in the United States in 2011, Spotify offers free music streaming with advertisements and charges $10 a month for ad-free listening). In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Swift suggested musicians deserved to earn more for allowing their songs to be streamed.
“Valuable things should be paid for,” she wrote in the July 2014 opinion piece. “It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is.”
In her Sunday Tumblr post, Swift reiterated that her stance was about more than her own career, which is soaring.
“This is not about me,” she wrote. “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’s U-turn avoids a testy public battle with an influential recording artist. Swift has nearly 60 million Twitter followers, and “1989” sold nearly 1.3 million copies — in its first week. That was the most of any album since 2002.
Apple Music, meanwhile, will launch June 30. After the initial three-month free trial period, the streaming music subscription will cost $10 per month, or $14.99 per month for a family plan of up to six people.
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