| 04 Oct 2023
Apple to pay artists during free trial period after Taylor Swift's open letter

MUMBAI: Following Taylor Swift's open letter to Apple Music, writing that she found the hardware giant’s decision to not pay writers, producers, or artists during its free three month trial period “shocking” and “disappointing”, Apple has decided to change course and pay artists during the trial period.

Earlier this month, Apple announced that it would be launching its music streaming service and would offer users a 90-day free trial period. However, music artists and producers were not quite accepting of this particular feature. Amongst those artists who were vocal about their disapproval was Taylor Swift. On World Music Day, Sunday 21 June, the ‘Bad Blood’ wrote an open letter to Apple Music which she posted on her Tumblr page.

The letter said, “I am sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I am 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.”

“Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. ...I say to Apple with all due respect, it is 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,” Swift’s letter stated. She wrapped up writing, “We do not ask you for free iPhones. Please do not ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

Not long after that Swift’s letter went viral with about 65 thousand notes on Tumblr. It even had members of the music fraternity unanimously appraising the 25-year old singer/songwriter’s initiative. Indie rock act Fun.’s Jack Antonoff, singers/songwriters Christina Perri and Matthew Mayfield among others all expressed encouragement over Twitter.

Within 24 hours of Swift’s open letter going viral, Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue tweeted that Apple would be paying artists during the 90-day period.

Later, Cue spoke to Billboard, elaborating that it was Swift's letter that got him to take a second look at the issue. He stated that the company had been hearing a lot of concern from indie artists about not getting paid during the three-month trial period, contrary to Apple Music’s intent. The decision to pay artists during the trial period was apparently made within hours of Swift’s letter.
Responding to Cue, Swift tweeted,