Tech

Apple Changes Streaming Music Policy After Taylor Swift Open Letter

The company confirmed to BuzzFeed News that its new streaming service will pay royalties during the free trial period. Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue personally called Taylor Swift to announce the company’s decision.

Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images

Apple will pay artists while its customers get its new Apple Music service for free.

Apple has come under fire from musicians recently, most notably from Taylor Swift, over concerns that it would not pay artists during a three-month free trial period it was offering its customers to sample its new streaming service. But it reversed course Sunday night, announcing the change via a tweet from Senior Vice President Eddy Cue.

Apple subsequently confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it will, in fact, be paying for the rights to stream music throughout the trial period.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Cue, Apple’s media boss, said the company will pay artists on a per stream basis during the free three-month trial. Cue declined to say what the rate per stream might be. Afterwards, it will pay music owners 71.5% of Apple Music’s subscription revenue in the United States. Internationally, the number will fluctuate, but will average out at around 73%.

The initial decision to forego payments was met with heavy criticism from the music industry at large, especially independent record labels who would be facing a steep charge to be a part of the platform.

The deal’s loudest detractor, however, was Swift, who wrote a blog post Sunday morning after BuzzFeed News reported last week that she would not stream her latest album, 1989, on the new service.

“We’ve been watching the discussion for the past week,” Cue said. “We want artists to be paid for their work, and when we hear from them — from Taylor or from indie artists — we listen to them. Taylor’s tweet today solidified the issue for us and we decided to make a change.”

Cue said he called Taylor Swift earlier today to tell her Apple had decided to pay artists during the three-month trial period.

“She was thrilled,” Cue said. But Swift has not yet agreed to allow her music on Apple’s new streaming service.

Though Apple IS talking to @taylorswift13, she has NOT yet agreed to be part of Apple Music, said @cue.

— John Paczkowski (@JohnPaczkowski)

We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple

— Eddy Cue (@cue)

I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.

— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13)

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