Taylor Swift ‘shocked and disappointed’ by Apple Music contract

Taylor Swift has strongly condemned Apple’s refusal to pay artists, labels, songwriters and publishers any royalties for the three-month free trial of Apple Music.

[UPDATE: Swift’s open letter did the trick… Apple says it now WILL pay artists (and presumably other rights-holders) for the free period.]

The contract for Spotify rival Apple Music has been the source of much recent industry criticism.

Many independent music labels and publishers have so far declined Apple’s request to sign a licensing agreement for the platform – with the three-month free window their No.1 bugbear.

That means that when Apple Music arrives on June 30, it may do so without the likes of Adele, Arctic Monkeys and The Prodigy.

On Friday, Taylor Swift’s label, Big Machine Records, confirmed that her latest album, 1989 – the best-selling LP of 2014 – would not be available for Apple Music’s launch.

Now she’s explained why.

“I find [Apple’s offer] shocking, disappointing and completely unlike this historically generous company.”

Directly addressing her fans, Swift says in a new blog post that she finds Apple’s offer “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company”.

She goes on to explain that “this is not about me”, but rather “the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt”.

She adds: “This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.”

And in her open letter – which you can read in full below – she finishes in style:

“I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this.

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


‘To Apple, Love Taylor’

I write this to explain why I’ll be holding back my album, 1989, from the new streaming service, Apple Music.

I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans.

I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries.

I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service.

I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows.

This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success.

This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt.

This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.

“These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child. These are the sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up.”

These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child.

These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much. We simply do not respect this particular call.

I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress.

We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period… even if it is free for the fans trying it out.

Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done.

I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.

But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this.

We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.

Taylor


This isn’t the first time Taylor Swift has spoken out against a digital music service’s terms, of course.

Last November, she pulled her entire catalogue from Spotify – arguing that “valuable things should be paid for” and predicting that “individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is.

“I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.”

Spotify founder Daniel Ek directly replied to Swift in his own blog post shortly afterwards.

He wrote: “Taylor Swift is absolutely right: music is art, art has real value, and artists deserve to be paid for it.

“We started Spotify because we love music and piracy was killing it.

“So all the talk swirling around lately about how Spotify is making money on the backs of artists upsets me big time.”Music Business Worldwide

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