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Apple will pay artists how much?!

The quick response from Apple after Taylor Swift’s blog post was rather curious, considering it had backed off previous attempts to rattle the company into paying royalties for customers on Apple Music’s free trial. It made it seem like Apple already had plans, but the Swift post set Apple on full defensive mode.

Apple head of services Eddy Cue said that Apple Music would support all artists and will pay for free trial listeners, but with only 140 characters, Cue failed to mention how much these artists would be paid and the discrepancy between paid and free customers.

Turns out, there is quite a discrepancy, with Apple planning to pay artists the same price Spotify pays for ad-supported customers. That is a third of what paid customers usually send to an artist each time they listen to a song.

In the UK, that number is 0.1p per listen, with the rate for paid customers being 0.3p per listen. The 0.3p (that’s a third of a penny) deal is actually quite high against other music streaming services, but nothing overly impressive.

Speaking on the subject of pay per listen, Eddy Cue said once Apple Music starts grabbing millions of subscribers, the rate will improve. To what extent, we are still not sure, but Apple could potentially fork out up to 0.20p per listen if it manages to grab 100 million subscribers like it is aiming for by 2015.

The change in policy for free streaming has brought the Beggars Group and other indie labels on board with Apple Music. We expect Taylor Swift will also push 1989 onto the service, although Swift did say she has personal issues with streaming as a medium, claiming albums should be listened in full and one single should not be popularised over others.