Apple says it will pay artists during Music’s free trials
Taylor Swift has a lot of clout in the streaming music world, it seems. Just hours after the singer railed against Apple for declining to pay royalties during Music’s 3-month trials, Apple’s Eddy Cue has promised that his company will pay musicians “even during [the] customer’s free trial period.” That includes indie artists, he says. It’s not clear what prompted the apparent change of heart (beyond the obvious public relations problem), but it wasn’t hard to see turnaround as a possibility. Apple has been positioning Music as a sort of anti-Spotify that courts the artists who don’t like the streaming status quo, such as Swift — it wasn’t going to succeed if those same performers jumped ship, whatever the reason.
Update: Cue tells Recode that Swift’s letter, and pressure from other artists, prompted the change. He reached out to Tim Cook to make the change, and told Swift herself about the new policy. As for how Apple is compensating artists during trials? Cue isn’t divulging the exact rate, but he says that it’s a per-stream payout rather than the usual revenue percentage. About the only thing up in the air is whether or not Swift and indie labels will offer their full catalogs to Apple Music. If you ask Cue, it’s simply too soon to know.