The Independent Music Industry had a helping hand from Taylor Swift in getting Apple Music has to reverse its payment policy.
We would like to think that the calls from the independent community were heard but it coincidentally, the announcement came a day after the singer Taylor Swift said she was refusing to allow the company to stream her album 1989.
Taylor wrote an open letter to Apple on her Tumblr page and said she was withholding the record as she was unhappy with the three-month free trial offered to subscribers.
Now Apple have agreed to change its plans and will pay artists for music streamed during trial periods. This just demonstrates how volatile the modern music industry can be.
“We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple,” tweeted executive Eddy Cue.
Taylor Swift had the following to say to Apple;
“I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company,” the 25-year-old said, describing Apple as one of her “best partners in selling music”.
“Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.
“We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
Apple Music is schedule to be launched on 30 June. It will cost $9.99 (£6.30) per month in the US for one person or $14.99 for families and hopes to be the top streaming service in the ever changing landscape of the music industry.
After hearing news of the teh reversal in their decision, Swift took to Twitter to express her joy at the news: “I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.”
Apple Executive Mr Cue told Associated Press
“When I woke up this morning and I saw Taylor’s note that she had written, it really solidified that we needed to make a change.”
He still was not sure if the singer would now make her album available on Apple Music – but he praised her for taking a stand.
The music industry has generally supported the company bringing its vast music library to paid streaming, and the firm said it would pay 73% of the music subscription revenue to music owners.
In an interview with Billboard magazine Cue said they had already been been hearing “a lot of concern from indie artists about not getting paid during the three-month trial period” before Swift spoke out. But he said “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”, he said.
They will now pay artists during the trial period and “also keep the royalty rate at the higher rate.”
He said he reached out to Swift himself to let her know they were making the changes and “she was thrilled and very thankful”.
It seems like the stance of Swift caught the attention of a few other people as well.
Others who have commented include Radio 3’s Clemency Burton-Hill, who said Apple’s volte face was “good for all musicians“.
“Well done @taylorswift13 for standing up for artists – and well done Apple for listening,” tweeted Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin empire.
The Incorporated Society of Musicians, the musicians’ professional body, welcomed the news. But Deborah Annetts, its chief executive, said more needed to be done for musicians.
“It is great news that Apple has reversed its payment policy and will now pay artists for music streamed during trial periods; huge congratulations to Taylor Swift, for quite rightly defending her rights as an artist,” she said.
“With the launch of Apple Music it is wonderful that more people have access to an ever expanding catalogue of music.
“But the fact remains that this service is not giving musicians, many of whom are session artists or non-featured artists, any new rights. And worse still, it will pay them virtually nothing.”
Last week, UK-based independent record label Beggars echoed Swift’s comments, saying it struggled “to see why rights owners and artists should bear this aspect of Apple’s customer acquisition costs”.
It said it did not have an agreement with Apple that would allow it to participate in the new service but hoped the “obstacles to agreement can be removed” in the coming days.