Apple, Taylor Swift Dispute is “Mostly Theater” Says Former Pandora Exec

Ahead of its highly anticipated launch, Apple Music has become a hot topic in the news. Apple dropped the bomb earlier, saying it wouldn’t pay artists during the free three-month trial period of its streaming service. But then, just the other day, there was a huge turnaround: Apple said it will pay artists during this period.


Eddy Cue credited Taylor Swift and mentioned complaints from other musicians to explain Apple’s decision: it will pay artists during the trial period. The fact is, Cue’s announcement makes Apple shine. But not everyone is impressed. Actually, the former CTO of Pandora, Tom Conrad, sees this whole thing as “theater.” (via Business Insider)

In a series of tweets, Conrad threw in a few reasons why he believes that. First, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, and other streaming services actually pay artists for their free tiers and trials, too, he says.

As a result, Apple ends up on the same level as the other players. And since we don’t know how much Apple pays per stream — just that it pays music owners 71.5% of Apple Music revenue in the US and up to 73% outside the US — we don’t know if Apple pays artists more fairly than others, Conrad argues.

“We shouldn’t herald this move as progress,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s status quo.”