Apple caves to Taylor Swift and decides to pay artists

Less than a day after Taylor Swift called Apple’s decision not to pay musicians any royalties for its three-month free trial period of Apple Music “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company” on Tumblr, the company has changed its position.

Apple SVP Eddy Cue announced on Twitter that the company has reversed its decision and will pay artists even during the customers’ free trial period. 

“Apple will make sure that artists are paid,” Cue tweeted, continuing: “Apple Music will pay artists for streaming even during customers’ free trial period. We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”

Last week, BuzzFeed reported that Swift had pulled her wildly-popular “1989” album on Apple Music, because of the streaming service’s decision not to pay royalties during its three-month trial period. That followed her decision to remove “1989” from Spotify’s service last year, citing her opinion that the company didn’t give enough money to artists. 

Swift wrote on Tumblr that her decision not to participate in Apple Music wasn’t just about her — it was about protecting new artists “who will not be paid for its success.”

The post decrying Apple’s lack of intial royalties got plenty of attention Sunday and Apple appears to have listened to her criticism. 

Originally, Apple had planned to pay music owners 71.5% of Apple Music’s subscription revenue after the trial period ended, Re/Code reported. According to Apple exec Robert Kondrk, that was “a few percentage points higher than the industry standard,” to account for the longer trial period.

It’s unclear whether that percentage will now decrease because Apple will pay artists throughout the trial period.

Here are the series of tweets from Cue announcing the news:


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