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Apple Reverses Course, Will Pay Artists During Apple Music Trial [u]

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Earlier today, Taylor Swift wrote a scathing letter to Apple, lambasting the company for not paying artists during Apple Music’s initial three-month free trial.

The musician’s letter was just one of many artists that have been critical of the free trial, but now Apple has reversed its policy, as announced by company VP Eddy Cue on Twitter tonight and later confirmed to BuzzFeed News:

“We’ve been watching the discussion for the past week,” Cue said. “We want artists to be paid for their work, and when we hear from them — from Taylor or from indie artists — we listen to them. Taylor’s tweet today solidified the issue for us and we decided to make a change.”

Cue noted he called Taylor Swift personally to inform her of the change (which was discussed with CEO Tim Cook before calling the artist) and said “she was thrilled” to hear the news.

Later on Twitter, Swift announced she was “elated and relieved” that Apple made the change:

https://twitter.com/taylorswift13/status/612841136311390209

Once the three-month trial is over for Apple Music, the company will pay U.S. artists 71.5 percent of subscription revenues, while those outside the U.S. will get 73 percent. Apple Music launches worldwide on June 30.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Apple react so quickly to criticism and make a major change. This is definitely a different Apple in the post-Jobs era.

Update: Re/code also spoke to Cue and provided some more details. Cue said Tim Cook was on board with the change, noting “It’s something we worked on together. Ultimately we both wanted to make the change.” He also explained why he broke the news on Twitter, saying it seemed like a good way to spread the word.

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