Over the past couple weeks, indie artists, distributors, labels, and label groups (such as Beggars, Merlin, A2IM, etc.) have been voicing concerns over Apple Music’s 3-month introductory trial period, during which rights owners would NOT be paid for the usage of their music.
Well, we’re very excited to share good news with you: on Monday, June 22nd, Apple announced it has reconsidered, and it WILL pay royalties to artists, labels, and publishers during the trial period.
How did this all unfold? Well, Apple has been paying close attention to the voices of independent rights holders (both publicly and privately), and the conversation culminated with a now widely reported exchange between Taylor Swift and Apple Music’s Eddy Cue.
First, Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple Music asking them to reconsider their policy regarding payments during the trial period.
Her letter concludes:
We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.
Her fans went nuts, sharing her letter tens of thousands of times, and adding their voices to the discussion too.
Apple’s Eddy Cue responded:
We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple
— Eddy Cue (@cue) June 22, 2015
Soon after, Apple announced a change of course, agreeing to pay artists, labels, and publishers for streaming activity that occurs within the introductory trial period. Clearly when Taylor Swift speaks, the music industry takes note (though her letter put a point on an argument that had been weeks in the making).
So, how will this reversal (in favor of artists, songwriters, publishers, and labels) impact the launch of Apple Music? Will Apple Music’s competitive payouts, giant musical catalog, and Apple Connect make it the obvious favorite for users and musicians?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.