Apple bows to Taylor Swift, says it will now pay artists during Apple Music free trial

Taylor Swift
Hours after Taylor Swift made clear her displeasure at Apple’s decision not to pay artists royalties during Apple Music’s free three-month trial period, the tech giant has done an about-face.

Tweeting Sunday evening, Apple software chief Eddy Cue said that the company will, after all, pay artists for streaming, “even during customer’s free trial period.”

The executive added, “Apple will always make sure that artists are paid,” and in a final tweet, said: “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”

Related: Spotify vs Apple Music – who wins the ultimate streaming showdown?

In a Tumblr message posted Sunday, the mighty Swift had described Apple’s refusal to pay artists during the trial period as “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company,” adding, “Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.”

She said she was speaking not for herself but for newcomers in the industry who would feel the effects of Apple’s policy most severely. “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,” Swift wrote.

Within a short time of the post going live, it seems Apple hurriedly convened a meeting of executives to discuss the musician’s musings, with Cue responding via Twitter Sunday night.

Swift was quick to respond to Apple’s change of heart, tweeting to her 60 million followers that she was “elated and relieved.”

Swift said in her Tumblr message that she was holding back her latest album – 1989 – from Apple Music because of its payment policy. Now the company has altered its position, it’s possible 1989 will show up after all.

Apple Music, which launches across more than 100 countries at the end of this month, is set to take on established music streaming services such as Spotify and Rdio. Users will pay $10 a month, or $15 for a family of up to six people, with the three-month trial period giving anyone interested the chance to take the new service for a spin.

While others in the industry have recently been complaining about Apple’s original plan to start paying musicians only when the trial period was over, it has perhaps unsurprisingly taken a message from one of the biggest artists working today to finally persuade Apple to change its policy.


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