Taylor Swift stood up to Apple, and won a HUGE victory for all musicians
At 7 a.m. Sunday morning, Taylor Swift posted a lengthy Tumblr post titled, “To Apple, Love Taylor.” This, however, was not a love story. The letter that T. Swift posted was all about her issues with Apple’s latest streaming platform, Apple Music, and their decision to offer a three-month free trial for new members. So what’s so bad about a free trial? While there’s no catch in it for us — the subscribers — the plan for artists with songs in Apple Music was to not be paid royalties for those three months. Basically, it was three months sans pay.
At 11:30 p.m. Sunday night, a mere 16 hours after Taylor’s letter hit the web, Apple reversed their stance on the three-month no pay thing and announced that, because of Swift, they would be paying artists royalties during the free trial.
Let that sink in for a second. Taylor Swift, the Grammy award-winning songstress who loves to bake and throw crazy parties for her besties and is a self-proclaimed cat lady, got Apple to reverse an already established policy for singers, songwriters, and producers everywhere — and now everyone’s getting paid. Swift is hereby a certified music crusader.
So what exactly did Swift write in her post that made a massive company like Apple listen? Swift’s open letter makes it perfectly clear what her issues are with Apple Music, and consequently why she decided to withhold 1989 from the service unless they agreed to pay artists. She writes:
She makes such an important point. While Swift is selling out arenas left and right, artists just starting their careers might only be playing at local venues and barely pulling in enough to cover rent. It’s not fair to offer up their music for free without compensation. Or, as Swift put it, “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.” Boom.
As her post quickly went viral, other artists began echoing her words (like, “Welcome To New York” collaborator, Jack Antonoff who tweeted that Taylor’s letter was “powerful and important”) and clearly Apple heard them. So late Sunday night, Apple senior executive Eddy Cue wrote a real love story to Swift, saying that the no-pay policy was going away. Everyone’s getting paid, and the free-trial is still on!
In an interview with Billboard Cue explained, “When I woke up [Sunday] morning and saw what Taylor had written, it really solidified that we needed a change. And so that’s why we decided we will now pay artists during the trial period.” After a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Cue then called Swift (who’s currently in Amsterdam on tour) to tell her the news.
“I let her know that we heard her concerns and are making the changes. We have a long relationship with Taylor so I wanted her to hear directly from us.”
Needless to say, Swift was pretty excited.
And there you have it. That is the story of how Taylor Swift stood up to Apple, in defense of artists everywhere, and in the end everyone came out a winner. Sounds like absolutely beautiful music to us.