22 June 2015

I Never Thought That I Would Her to My List of, "People I Do Not Want to Piss Off."

But Taylor Swift has earned her entry into the most noble order of the "People I Do Not Want to Piss Off".

Taylor: 1 — Apple: 0:

Tech oligarchs aren’t supposed to say sorry. And no, Apple hasn’t formally apologized to the music community for demanding that it works for Apple for free, Apple still comes out of it with plenty of credit.

Ten days ago, the contracts for Apple’s new Spotify-ish streaming service leaked out, and they contained an unprecedented request. Apple said artists and rights owners would not be paid for music streamed during the service's first three months. During that time, the service will be offered for free to people, and then rise to something like ten bucks a month.

Typically, streaming pays almost nothing today – fractions of a penny. The segment numbers tens of millions of paying subscribers, and hasn’t achieved scale. But this, from Apple, was genuinely nothing: a big, fat zero. The story flew onto the business pages. Only bottom-feeding pirate websites used artists' work without paying them, and it looked like Apple was diving into the cesspit of file-sharers.


Within hours of the world’s biggest pop star weighing in on the side of the indies, Apple caved in. Taylor Swift livened up Sunday with a devastating open letter to Apple, explaining her music wouldn’t be on Apple Music.

By the evening, Apple’s content chief Eddy Cue was tweeting, and phoning reporters, to tell say the no-royalties period was scrapped. Artist will believe it when they see the new contracts arrive: the trial-period royalty may be lower than the regular royalty. But that’s still an epic turnaround – and Apple emerges looking better than anyone expected last week.

Apple clearly wants Apple Music to succeed – and many artists and rights owners want it to succeed, too. This is surprising on the face of it, given that Apple pays barely more than streaming services. (Again, we’ll wait for the first royalty statements before seeing whether this is true.)

 Well played, Ms. Swift.


Post a Comment