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Apple faces the music and listens to Taylor Swift

Apple faces the music and listens to Taylor Swift

June 22, 2015

As it turns out, there won’t be any bad blood between Taylor Swift and Apple, and the “Fearless” singer-songwriter won’t have to leave a blank space for the tech giant.

Earlier today, Swift published an open letter on her official Tumblr blog and took Apple to task over the company’s upcoming music streaming service, Apple Music.

As we previously reported:

The problem, Swift notes, lies within the free three month trial period offered for Apple Music. Under the terms that Apple has negotiated with the music industry, royalties are not paid for the trial period, a sticking point for Swift and many other artists. Swift says that she finds it “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”

“We don’t ask you for free iPhones,” Swift wrote in closing. “Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

Well, the company has heard Swift loud and clear, which is hardly surprising, given her undeniable clout.

As announced on Twitter by Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Apple has changed course and decided to pay royalties for the trial period:

“When I woke up this morning and saw what Taylor had written, it really solidified that we needed a change,” Cue said in an interview with Billboard. “And so that’s why we decide we will now pay artists during the trial period.”

The decision is said to have been made by Cue along with Apple CEO Tim Cook, whereupon Cue called Swift to personally let her know of Apple’s concession.

Swift then retweeted Cue’s tweets and herself posted a triumphant tweet:

While either party is yet to put out a confirmation, it’s safe to assume that Swift’s most recent album, “1989,” will be made available on Apple Music along with her back catalog, considering that her open letter to Apple was predicated on the album’s holdout from the service.

In any case, Apple is wise for facing the music and doing an about-face on its controversial royalty-less trial period. The move will be a boon not only to huge acts like Swift but also to small and independent musicians.

What’s more, Apple apparently intends to stick with its previously announced royalty rate, which is 71.5 percent of its music streaming subscription revenue in the U.S. and 73 percent in other countries. This royalty rate, which is slightly higher than competing services’ (around 70 percent), is originally supposed to somehow make up for the lack of royalties during the trial period.

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