Taylor Swift Gets Apple Music To Pay Indies During Trial but Don’t Thank Them


The buzz in music industry circles is that the streaming service Apple Music wasn’t going to pay Indie artists any royalties during the 3-month free trial it gives to new users. Apple, Inc., the company with over $200 billion cash money in the bank was going to make independent artists build Apple Music for them for free.

“A leaked Apple Music contract surfaced last week containing details about how it plans to compensate indie labels for music streamed during the trial period. According to the document Apple won’t pay royalties to independent music labels — or unsigned artists, we’d imagine — while users test drive the app.” – engadget.com Apple won’t pay royalties during Music’s trial period

That all changed this week when Taylor Swift penned an open letter explaining why she was pulling her album 1989 from Apple Music because of this.

“Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music.” – taylorswift.tumblr.com To Apple, Love Taylor

You can read the full letter on Taylor Swift’s blog – a post that has over 68,000 notes on it and one that went out to her over 59.2 million Twitter followers, 34.6m Instagram followers, 1.2 million YouTube Subscribers, 71 million Facebook fans, and even 2.5 million Google+ followers.

Apple responded by of Eddy Cue with a series of three tweets announcing a reversal of the policy.

Great, that is all fine and dandy. But. Don’t pat Apple on the back for doing something that should have been done without anyone having to say anything. It isn’t a step forward, to say that indie artists will now get paid – like Apple is giving them a present. They were trying to rob artists, they should be chastised for it. The artist community should move forward tentatively and let Apple know that they are being watched.

Apple will always make sure that artists are paid? What about before Taylor’s letter? That wasn’t the plan then Eddy. Explain that.

Apple is the world’s richest company with more money on hand that even the oil companies and some countries. Seriously the Atlantic said Apple is basically a small country now.

Apple has the financial influence of a not-even-that-small country at this point. The company’s $178 billion—$178 billion!—puts it on par with the gross domestic product of a country like New Zealand, surpassing the GDPs of Vietnam, Morocco, and Ecuador, according to the most recent World Bank data.

If Apple were a country, it’d be the 55th richest country in the world.” – theatlantic.com Apple Is Basically a Small Country Now

Apple tried to use their size to bully artists into covering their cost of entry into the music streaming space. Had Swift and her huge social media and celebrity influence not said anything they would have proceeded as planned. They didn’t heed any of the anger previously directed at them by indie labels, artists, journalists, blogs, etc. This isn’t Apple realizing that they made a mistake because they care for the art and those that create it. This isn’t a victory that won anything. It’s like someone stealing your wallet, then being forced to give it back to you, and expecting you to feel like you just made extra money. No Gooch, that was my wallet in the first place!

Why do the actual creators of the product that everyone seems to want to sell always get the short end of the stick in the music industry? Let’s ask and have answered why Apple felt they had the right to try to get artists to work for free for them. What was the boardroom meeting like? Furthermore, as one commenter pointed out, if Apple tries to pull this when they have no users and they haven’t launched yet, what will they do when they have 20 million paying customers and more power?

I think any coverage on the change of heart by Apple Music, should point out that it is something they should have done from the beginning. You better believe Apple, Inc. makes sure it gets paid.


When you Think Different, you should also Do Better.


Jaylon Carter

Jaylon Carter is a blogger, social media marketing consultant, former Congressional Campaign Media & Communications Director, and a Hip Hop artist who performs under the stage name Timid (@timidmc). He also runs NetBuzzDigest.com, a subscription newsletter informing parents of current happenings on the Internet.

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