Share:

Taylor Swift Reveals to Vanity Fair How She Stood Up to Apple

Share:

taylor swift.jpeg

It only took a letter signed by pop star Taylor Swift to change the course of Apple’s music streaming service policy. Speaking with Vanity Fair, the pop star has now shared the story behind that influential note.

“I wrote the letter at around four A.M.,” Swift says. “The contracts had just gone out to my friends, and one of them sent me a screenshot of one of them. I read the term ‘zero percent compensation to rights holders.’ Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I’ll write a song and I can’t sleep until I finish it, and it was like that with the letter.”

Apparently she was afraid of having the same result she had with a similar letter targeting Spotify. But she took the bull by the horns and read the letter to only one person, her mother. You know what happened afterwards.

What surprised her is how fast and how decisively Apple reacted to her letter. You may recall that Apple initially planned to pay nothing to artists during the three month trial period for Apple Music, yet suddenly changed its policy after it got “Taylored”.

Says Swift, “Apple treated me like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about,” she says. “And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine.”

Apple Music launched on June 30 worldwide. Since its launch, Apple’s music streaming service has attracted both praise and criticism from users. The service is currently free until the end of September. After that Canadian subscribers will pay $9.99/month for a single account and $14.99/per month for a family membership plan.

Share:

  • “Apple initially planned to pay nothing to artists during the three month trial period”

    I suspect this wasn’t quite the case. I’m thinking that Apple hadn’t quite fully decided yet, but covered their butts in the contract (since they wouldn’t be making any money and didn’t want to pay out if they didn’t have to) and then waited to see how the industry would react. Based on how quickly they turned things around, they clearly had already considered paying the artists, and even had a plan in place. (In fact I think I remember Eddy Cue mentioning something along those lines in a Q&A.)

  • “The contracts had just gone out to my friends, and one of them sent me a screenshot of one of them. I read the term ‘zero percent compensation to rights holders.’

  • Yeah, I know it was in the contract that they would pay them nothing. I’m just saying I don’t think Apple was 100% sure they were going to play it that way. I think they just wanted to gauge the reaction first and then only compensate the artists if they needed to.

  • I’m not saying the article is incorrect, I’m just saying I think Apple was being sneaky with the way they played things.

  • I’m not sure if whining and complaining counts as standing up to a company.
    Granted things could have been planned different, but I still lost a lot of respect for how she presented herself as a spoilt child.

  • Tim

    What exactly are you basing your assumptions on? They’ve been taking huge cuts from artists and developers for years. They’re in business to make money. They have some of the highest margins in the industry. They play hardball with their suppliers until it creates bad PR, which was the case here. Your conjecture is baseless.

Deals