Taylor Swift’s Open Letter Changes Apple Music Payment Policy
Apple Music has announced that it has changed its streaming payment policy in the wake of an open letter from Taylor Swift.
"I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries," she writes. "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. 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."
Swift goes on to explain that her decision to spearhead the fight against free streaming is not just about her own lost sales and revenue.
"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," she says. "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 letter went viral on Sunday, and by the end of the day Apple executive Eddy Cue had announced a reversal of the three-month no-payment policy.
"When I woke up this morning and saw what Taylor had written, it really solidified that we needed a change," Cue tells Billboard. "And so that's why we decided we will now pay artists during the trial period."
Swift responded to Cue's announcement via Twitter Sunday night.
The country-turned-pop superstar has been on somewhat of a personal crusade to bring attention to the issue of streaming revenue and how it can impact artists negatively. She pulled her entire catalog from Spotify in November of 2014, and in an outcome that surprised many industry insiders, that move not only did not hurt her album, it helped it to become the best-selling album of 2014, despite having been released in the last quarter of the year.
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