Skip to main content

Apple reverses three month free policy after Taylor Swift open letter

Taylor Swift pushed into the centre of the streaming debate, after she removed all new content from Spotify for not paying artists appropriately.

In a new move, Swift wrote an open letter to Apple imploring the company to remove the three month free trial without paying the artist. Swift claimed the open letter was not for her own, but for the thousands of independents not receiving the payment they deserve for music.

What is odd about the open letter is the speed of Apple’s response, with head of services Eddy Cue announcing a reverse to the three months no pay decision. Essentially, license owners will now receive payment for all music streamed, regardless of version.

This means Apple is going to have to fork out quite a large sum of money to pay for all these artists music streaming, since the customer will not start paying till the fourth month.

It’s not like Apple cannot afford to spend a little, with a war chest totalling over £120 billion, it has enough to acquire every single music streaming service on the planet and still have enough to buy Universal, Sony and Warner Music.

Apple intends to add 100 million customers after 12 months of service, a big ask considering Spotify’s dominance in the streaming industry. Spotify currently has 15 million paid customers and 45 million ad-supported accounts.

Apple Music still has loopholes where the company has not detailed revenue sharing. Connect is the biggest question mark, where independents can upload music for free, without receiving any monetisation offers.

Apple claims this is a way for smaller artists to gain reputation on the platform, but to us it seems awfully like a YouTube service but without the advertising or revenue share program.

The Beggars Group, which handles Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Jack White and a few other major artists, also criticised Apple’s intended plans for Connect. Beggars Group were also against the three month free trial without pay, but it seems Taylor’s reach is stronger than that of a major music label.

Apple will release its music streaming service alongside iOS 9 later in the year. Beats 1, a new radio station featuring Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, will launch alongside Apple Music.