After being publicly smacked down by music's biggest star, Apple is changing its tune. Late Sunday night, Apple VP Eddy Cue responded to the open letter that Taylor Swift posted earlier in the day, revealing that Apple now plans to pay artists, labels, and publishers for streams during Apple Music's three-month free trial. The premium streaming service is due to launch on June 30th.
Prior to Cue's announcement, indie artists and others in the music community had complained about Apple's apparent decision to hold back royalties during the trial period. Apple's idea was to make up for it by offering higher payments than rivals like Spotify after the generous free offer wraps up, but that wasn't enough for Taylor Swift, who blasted Apple's strategy as "shocking" and "disappointing."
#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period— Eddy Cue (@cue) June 22, 2015
"This is not about me," Swift wrote on Tumblr, explaining why she plans to withhold her latest release, 1989, from Apple's new service. "Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success."
"Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing," Swift added. Apple has apparently heard the message loud and clear, according to Cue. It's possible that Apple will offer up a fuller explanation on its change of course with an open letter of its own this week, but for now — at 11PM ET on a Sunday night — Eddy Cue is the messenger. And he's doing his very best to resolve a rare public stumble for Apple and alleviate artist concerns in the lead up to Apple Music's debut.
His response has already been retweeted by Taylor Swift. Soon after, Swift tweeted her own positive reaction to the change, but BuzzFeed reports the singer has yet to agree to a deal that would put her most recent album on Apple Music.
I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 22, 2015