It has become a bit of an assumption that when Apple makes a big announcement, media is about to change dramatically.
So, when Apple’s much-anticipated Apple Music announced that it would be kicking off service with a free 90-day trial, the news traveled fast — maybe a little too fast. Not everybody was thrilled by the news, and Taylor Swift in particular had a number of choice words for Apple executives.
Taylor Swift’s complaints. The problem wasn’t the service itself, but the way that Apple intended to compensate artists streamed during the trial period. The plan was to not compensate anyone — which understandably went over like a lead balloon to people like Swift, who make their living in the music industry.
“We don’t ask you for free iPhones,” she posted to Tumblr, “Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
A long-fought battle. This isn’t the first time that a music service has tried to get away with providing licensed music without an acceptable compensation model, it’s been happening since Frank Sinatra lobbied repeatedly to change the licensing laws concerning royalties for radio play. What was so remarkable about Taylor’s post heard ‘round the world was that she managed to make a difference in little more than an instant.
She’s long been a social media maven, harnessing the power of social media to promote albums as well as advocate for her fellow artists, but Swift’s Apple Music post was the first to directly result in action from an offending company. Apple wasted no time in responding to Taylor’s polite and reasonable request for payment.
Apple’s response to Taylor Swift. “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple” was, perhaps, a promise of things to come. Although the compensation plan isn’t clear yet, what is obvious is that Apple is listening to their artists and want to be seen as a friendly, human brand, even when they’re the least popular kid on social media for a day.
With Taylor’s enormous influence on the music industry, this small row with Apple could be the beginning of bigger things and an end to the nebulous pay models that musicians have been forced to deal with as digital music continues to rise to prominence.