Just days before Apple Music was scheduled to launch in June, Taylor Swift published a blog post criticising the company for its artist royalty policy.
Since Apple had initially said it wouldn’t pay artists royalties for any streams during the free three-month trial period, Swift at first declined to put her album 1989 on Apple Music.
Less than a day later, Apple reversed its decision and said it would compensate artists during that period after reading Swift’s blog post.
Now, Jimmy Iovine, the Beats Music executive and renowned record producer that heads up Apple’s music efforts, has revealed how the company initially reacted to the letter from Taylor Swift in an interview with The Evening Standard.
Here’s how Iovine described the situation, according to the article:
Eddy [Cue, Apple senior VP] woke up on Sunday morning. He called me and said, ‘This is a drag’. I was like, ‘Yeah, maybe there’s some stuff she doesn’t understand’. He said, ‘Why don’t you give Scott [Borchetta, Swift’s label boss] a call?’ I called Scott, I called Eddy back, Eddy and Tim [Cook, Apple CEO] called me back and we said, ‘Hey, you know what, we want this system to be right and we want artists to be comfortable, let’s do it’.
Iovine says he couldn’t remember how long the whole decision process actually took. His recollection comes days after Swift explained what it was like to stand up to Apple in an interview with Vanity Fair. The singer said she was up at 4 a.m. writing the letter, and sent it to her mum before publishing it on Tumblr.
Apple Music, which launched on June 30, already has 11 million subscribers, Cue told USA Today. That may sound like a lot, but it’s important to remember that Apple Music is still in its free trial phase. The real test will come when we learn how many people are willing to pay for Apple Music.