music blue background

Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue put an end Sunday night to several days of controversy by saying that Apple will pay artist for streaming their songs during the customer’s free trial period of its new Apple Music service.

In a series of tweets representing a change of stance for the company, Cue clarified that Apple will always make sure that artists are paid.

Up until today, the company had seen a backlash from indie artists and other music industry representatives for not paying artists during the three-month free trial period of its upcoming streaming service.

Until now, the company’s reasoning behind its move was that it is paying a slightly higher fee than industry average per streamed song after the trial period is over in order to make it up for that extended trial period. That didn’t play right with many artists who believed Apple wanted to promote its new service by taking advantage of musicians.

The movement really gained traction when pop artist Taylor Swift published an open letter in which she basically claimed that artists, big and small, don’t want to work for free, something completely understandable. Although her back catalogue is going to be available on Apple Music, her new album will not.

The unusual course reversal for Apple comes in an even more unusual way. One would have expected a press release, or maybe more appropriately an open letter to explain its new position. But I guess in 2015 tweets are good enough.

Regardless of the medium, it’s the message that is important. Apple has listened and changed its stance, something that can only be good for the music industry.

Now I’m curious to see whether this will be enough for Taylor Swift to make her latest album available on Apple Music.

Apple Music will be available in over 100 countries on June 30th, along with iOS 8.4. It will feature a streaming service, a live radio station, and a social network for artists to connect with their fans.

  • Brandon

    i’m surprised they haven’t opened their massive bank account even more (increased royalties & subsidized monthly subscriptions?) to completely wipe out Spotify et al.

    • Then they will get anti-trust lawsuit.

      • Mr.Coolfreak

        I don’t understand how that works, if a company has money why aren’t they allowed to give as much as they want to get an Ashe on competition

      • Competition is good in the long run. If Apple were to wipe out all the competition, they would be in total control of the business and might do whatever they want without giving us any choices.

    • Byron C Mayes

      Actually they *are* doing a higher royalty scheme. It was originally how they planned to “make up for” lost revenue during the 90-day free period. Eddy Cue says they’re going to keep that royalty scheme even though they’ll now be paying during the trial.

      • Brandon

        i meant even further, like much beyond what Spotify could afford to pay

  • Donstil

    Ok so now in the next 24h we will find out if Taylor is really that in to the underdog music artist or that see was just doing it to get free media attention.

    • Mr.Coolfreak

      She retweeted cue’s tweets, I think that means that she’s ok with putting her album on there

  • Mr.Coolfreak

    Amazing how much power she has, and this was obviously a PR move. The negative connotation toward Apple wasn’t worth the money Apple was saving

    • Apple doesn’t care about saving a little money. This could potentially exploited by registering a lot of Apple ID and streaming their own song for free then get paid. I don’t know how Apple can deal with this now.

      • Mr.Coolfreak

        Apple obviously did care about saving the money, that’s why they didn’t plan on giving them money during free trial.

  • Mr.Coolfreak

    I can’t imagine the conversation between the top Apple execs today regarding the issue

    • George

      I don’t get why they wouldn’t pay them for the 3 months, apple has enough money to use 100 dollar bills as toilet paper for all their restrooms.

      • Dhoklastellar Fafda®™

        This. Makes no sense at all. Just following Jobs’ legacy for the heck of it!

  • Sofakingstepwit

    Although this is undoubtedly a good thing, I’m so ready for Taylor Swift to go away. I couldn’t care less about her music and I’m really tired of every kissing her feet. She’s a perfectly fine pop artist but good god people…

    • Dhoklastellar Fafda®™

      Why so salty yo?

      • Sofakingstepwit

        Lol. I’m not salty. Just tired of everyone acting like Taylor Swift is so special.

  • Dhoklastellar Fafda®™

    Whoa Taylor Swift! You took down the Goliath!

  • n0ahcruz3

    Go Taylor lol this goes to show how Greedy apple is. Cant even pay artist for 3 months? The most valuable company in the world cant pay artists for 3 months wtf lol

    • Moltakfire

      But they are paying for it, so it’s not like this comment makes any sense, lol.

      • Mr.Coolfreak

        He means Apple wasn’t going to pay them before Taylor’s post

      • Moltakfire

        His post still makes no sense. It doesn’t show how ‘greedy’ Apple is, because it never happened. If they stuck by what they originally said, then yes, his post would have some reasonable sense to it. But they reversed their decision, so the post remains senseless.

      • M_Hawke

        His post does make sense. Apple was greedy, period. That’s what they were going to do until they were called on the carpet in public. Just because they relented and changed their position does not change their original motives.

      • Moltakfire

        He says “shows how greedy Apple is”. You say “Apple was greedy”. The fault is in the tense. So his post, as it stands, makes no sense.

      • M_Hawke

        Oh my goodness…are you serious?

    • sunfire7

      Someone didn’t read the article or didn’t understood what it says XD

      • n0ahcruz3

        Read Mr.Coolfreak’s comment ✌️

    • PghMike4

      They weren’t planning on paying for it until Taylor Swift threatened to make them look like the greedy bastards they are. I guess Apple figured that they can’t have that much bad press when they’re trying to get people to pay for service that’s already available for free elsewhere.

      That begs the question why you’d pay Apple $120/year for a service available for free from Spotify.

  • Tailor Swift should tweet all our complains with Apple for us!

    • Vince Reedy

      Get her to tweet about extended battery life and no more protruding cameras!

  • jp2002

    If you don’t like it you can always opt out. Attention grabbing lady, you don’t need to bitch about that in the social media. If aap devs were like you, then you wouldn’t get a single free app!

    • therealjjohnson

      Well actually she didnt. And she did opt out. But all the tech sites, including this one, started running articles saying “Taylor Swift isn’t putting her last album on apple music”. Once people start asking her why she didnt, she responded. And she responded the correct: With logic and reason. Apple agreed.

  • Vic O

    I had been irritated by Taylor’s no “free music” stance before now. Especially as I didn’t give a hoot if she pulled her entire music catalog from everywhere…
    But reading her open letter to Apple on the issue provided some common sense clarity. No company worthy of its name could not have had a change of heart. Kudos to Taylor for concisely articulating the facts on behalf of artists. Apple, once again you show that it’s not about being first, but being better.
    Win win for everyone.

    • Vince Reedy

      I don’t particularly care for Taylor’s music myself, but I do respect her using her popularity to help others not as fortunate as herself. She may sell a few more records but I don’t think this was her motivation at all. She’s sold millions upon millions of records already and she will sell millions more. She’s got a pretty good track record of performing selfless acts and it looks like this is no exception. Good for her if she was helping out indie artists.

    • PghMike4

      Please, Apple did this because they have a tough job selling a paid version of a service that’s otherwise available for free. The only way they can do this is if they maintain the “cool” factor, and you can’t do that if a very popular singer writes a very cogent description of why Apple is a bunch of greed-heads.

      Tip of the hat to Ms Swift, who really did help a lot of other artists out.

      • Vic O

        “tough job selling a paid version of a service that’s otherwise available for free”

        Hmmmm.

  • pauleebe

    Thanks for doing the right thing, Apple. This is what makes you such a great company.

  • Carlos Gomes

    Finally some common sense. It’s Apple’s project, they should be the ones doing most of the investment, not their partners.

    The whole thing was embarrassing and unnecessary.

  • TJ

    Perhaps I’m the only one that disagrees with this whole nonsense of artists getting paid for the free trial or maybe it’s a lack of understanding on how the music industry works.

    At the moment artists are earning zero from Apple for streaming, so what difference does it make when Apple finally flips the switch on Apple Music and starts to stream songs to users? Yes, I understand that if someone is listening to your music you have an entitlement to be paid for it, but all this nonsense about artists losing money or going out of business is silly talk. They wouldn’t be any worse off if Apple didn’t pay them because they’re not earning now. And what work does the artist have to actually do to get their music onto the new streaming service that warrants some form of recompense? As I understand it the music is already available on Apple servers, people can buy direct from iTunes and will be able to stream it very soon. So if anything Apple is losing money during the three month trial as it rolls out the infrastructure to support streaming to millions of users. Not to mention the fact that Apple is paying higher than other services once the free trial is over.

    If someone has hard facts and figures on how exactly an artist will lose money during the free trial then I’d love to know how.

    • Vic O

      I suppose the argument would be that if an artist releases a song within those three trial months, rather than buy the song the users will choose to stream; for which the artist will not be paid. Otherwise you are on point.

    • PghMike4

      Artists aren’t earning zero from Apple’s streaming service now, because it doesn’t exist yet.

      People who want to hear those artists’ songs on demand today can go to Spotify, which will make a per-stream payment for playing the music, or they can buy the song from iTunes or Amazon, in which case the artist also gets paid.

      Had Apple continued with its plan, the artists’ revenues would have dropped, compared to what they get paid now for streaming or purchasing.

      Got it?

      • Vic O

        Circular argument.

    • M_Hawke

      PghMike4 is correct in what he says. The only thing left out is that you are incorrect in saying that artists are earning zero from Apple. iTunes Radio does indeed pay royalties to artists.

  • M_Hawke

    Just wondering…What in the world was Apple thinking, anyway?

  • dazza7111

    They could have advertised with some one better than Freddy Krueger?