Widespread criticism of Apple’s decision not to pay royalties during Apple Music’s free trial period has convinced the company to change its mind. Just hours after Taylor Swift spoke out against the policy on her blog, Apple announced it will now pay up while customers listen for free.
The announcement came from Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, who tweeted, “Apple Music will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period. We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”
Cue then confirmed to Recode that Apple will pay rights holders on a per-stream basis during the entire three-month trial period. Once customers start paying, those payments will then revert to a percentage of Apple Music revenue.
“I did reach out to Taylor today, and talked to her, and let her know that we heard her concerns, and wanted her to know that we were making changes,” Cue told Recode. “She was thrilled to hear from us and that we were making the change, and we were grateful for that.”
Swift also tweeted to say that she was “elated and relieved,” and to thank fans for their words of support. It’s unclear whether Apple’s change of mind will convince Swift to allow her hit 1989 album to be streamed on Apple Music, however.
Apple reportedly worked hard to convince labels to allow it to stream music at no cost during Apple Music’s free trial period, so it’s surprising that the company has now changed its mind. But this certainly seems like the right thing to do — especially given Apple’s resources.
Swift praised Apple Music for its goal of getting all users to pay for music streaming, but she labeled the decision not to pay creators during the trial “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike” Apple. Swift added her rant was “not about me,” but about indie artists who relied on the paycheck.
Apple Music will make its public debut on June 30, at which point all users will be able to enjoy the service for free for three months before paying $9.99 each, or $14.99 for up to six members on a family plan.