Taylor Swift won Top Artist of the year in the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. And it seems she is out to prove just that by battling it out with software giant Apple. She threatened to remove her record-breaking pop album 1989 after Apple wouldn’t budge about paying artists during their 3 month trial service.
Pressure from song writer Taylor Swift has forced Apple into an about-face on Apple Music, a new streaming music service.
Taylor Swift slammed the tech titan in an open letter, titled “To Apple, Love Taylor” this Sunday making Apple immedaitely shift position on Apple Music, announcing that it will now pay musicians royalties during the initial free 3-month trial period.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
Unveiled earlier this month, Apple Music aims to ramp up the competition with the likes of Pandora and Spotify. The service will be available June 30 as a free 3-month trial, after which a $9.99 monthly subscription fee will apply.
However, the Apple Music payment model has prompted the displeasure of Swift – who despite being worth so much – decided to speak out against the company, and in favour of struggling Indie artists.
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.
The star’s eloquent assault brought a quick response from Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Apple will always make sure that artist are paid #iTunes #AppleMusic,” he tweeted Sunday. “#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period”.
“We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple,” he added.
#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period
— Eddy Cue (@cue) June 22, 2015
Apple Music is the tech giant’s latest move in an industry that it revolutionized with the launch of its iTunes store in 2003. Rumors of Apple wielding a new weapon in the music battle have been rife since the tech giant spent $3.2 billion to acquire Beats last year.
With music firmly established as a cornerstone of Apple’s business, experts are not surprised by the company’s response to Swift’s stinging criticism.
“Apple realized this was a PR potential nightmare and quickly put the fire out as they need to be viewed as ‘artist friendly’, a smart move in our opinion,” explained Daniel Ives senior analyst at FBR Capital Markets, in an email to FoxNews.com. “Apple ‘caving in’ to the Taylor Swift blog speaks volumes about just how crucial this trial period is for Apple Music.”
The tech heavyweight needs streaming music to be successful as it represents a broader attempt to further penetrate the company’s “bread and butter” iTunes business, according to Ives, as well as gain share from the likes of Spotify.
“Apple will be as flexible as they need to be around Apple Music and artist demands especially during this trial period as it needs to go ‘without a hitch’ to successfully ramp and attract users to the platform,” he added.
Set against this backdrop, Brian White, global head of technology hardware and software, equity research, at Cantor Fitzgerald, thinks that Apple did the right thing. “I don’t see this as a sign of weakness, I see this as a sign of appreciating musicians,” he told FoxNews.com. “To spend $3 billion on Beats and bring in Jimmy Iovine and then skimp on these three months’ worth of royalties would really be a silly maneuver.”