After weeks of back and forth, there appears to be no more bad blood between Taylor Swift and Apple.
According to Forbes, the rift between the pop artist and the tech conglomerate began shortly after Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Apple would offer its own streaming platform, Apple Music. In order to entice music lovers to pay $9.99 per month for the new service, users would be able to use Apple Music for free during a three month trial period. Despite being an alluring means to draw in customers, the terms and conditions of the trial period outraged those in the music industry. According to the agreement, artists, producers, record labels, songwriters, and composers only would receive payments royalties after users began paying the monthly fee. Indie labels and their artists were particularly vocal in their outrage at the lack of compensation while millions of listeners would be downloading and enjoying their music.
Taylor Swift, who has a contract with the indie label Big Machine Records, is the most popular artist to voice her opposition. In an open letter on her blog entitled “To Apple, Love Taylor,” Swift politely, but firmly, explained her protest of the terms and conditions of Apple Music’s trial period. In a fitting analogy that likely resonated with Apple’s well paid engineers, Swift explained, “[w]e don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
This is not the first time Swift has voiced her objection to giving away free or virtually free music. She famously pulled all but one of her songs from the music streaming service Spotify, as she would only receive $0.006 each time one of her songs was played by a Spotify user. However, unlike with Spotify, all of Swift’s music up to her latest album, 1989, would be available to stream on Apple Music. Because 1989 has sold over 4.5 million copies and remained in the top tier of the Billboard 200 Album Chart since its October debut, if Swift pulled her music from Apple Music, the album’s absence would create a noticeable blank space in the Apple Music repertoire.
Rather than shake it off, Apple’s Senior Vice President Eddy Cue tweeted a new business model for the streaming service. Apple will now pay artists royalties during the trial period and listeners will still be able to enjoy the service for free during their first three months of use. Although Apple’s goal for its streaming platform is to “change the way you experience music forever,” it seems that Swift changed the way music streaming services will pay artists forever.
Apple Music is set to launch on June 30th.
Loren Shokes is an Entertainment Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current second year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2017).