Swift Action And Apple Music

Taylor Swift made headlines last year when she decided to pull her chart-topping album, 1989, from the music streaming service Spotify. At the time the debate concerning her decision revolved around the millions of dollars she was likely to lose by foregoing the less than 1 cent per play arrangement Spotify offers artists. Swift’s own argument was that her music was a valuable product that she didn’t wish to sell for basically free. She felt that her own music was valued at more than Spotify offers. This week, it appears that Spotify wasn’t the only streaming music service attempting to play her songs for practically free.

taylor swift apple

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been gearing up to release its own late-comer streaming service, Apple Music, for quite some time. As part of its launch details, the tech giant stated that there would be an initial 3 month free trial period for new users of the service. That was only possible because Apple was going to pay zero royalties for the music played during those three months.

Sticking to her original message to Spotify, Taylor Swift quickly published a quick Tumblr entry detailing her decision to hold her songs from Apple Music. Ever consistent, Swift wrote of her stance on valuing an artist’s work via compensation. Her post goes so far as to state that she is protesting on behalf of artists who can’t afford to go unpaid for three months. Swift’s statements have been generally well-received and believed, with no one really questioning if she is just good enough at math to know she’d lose out on a few million dollars in that short time span. Whatever the case may be, Apple made a quick move to prove it was no Spotify. The policy has already changed.

Buckling for the Big Bucks?

In a public and open manner similar to Swift’s remarks, Apple Executive, Eddy Cue, tweeted that he had heard Taylor’s and indie artists’ appeals. It was a savvy and timely move for Apple to make. In fact, it may have saved them millions. Aside from losing one of the highest grossing artists in the world right now, Apple saved face. Cue’s tweet didn’t just mention Taylor Swift; it mentioned the artists she claims to represent.

No Bad Press

Cue actually secured three victories in one short message. First and foremost, he got the rights to Taylor Swift’s music back into Apple Music. That means one massive revenue stream was lost and won back within hours. Second, he made heroes out of both Apple and Swift. Apple should have planned on paying artists anyway, but now they are doing it because they are so “in touch” with their music partners. To have done so before would have simply been a fair business transaction. Last of all, Cue used controversy as free advertising. Apple may have the money, but it would have cost him more than a few minutes of phone calls and a short tweet to properly advertise Apple Music to the millions of potential users who were sucked into this media frenzy.

A Small Investment

Apple will now pay artists royalties for songs played during Apple Music’s three month trial period. This may seem like a large investment, but that’s only if you think their goal is to get everyone to become paid subscribers after three months. The real long-term goal of Apple is to keep selling its hardware, not its software. Apple can afford to bend to artists’ complaints as long as Apple Music just breaks even, because Apple Music plays in iPhones and iPods. By keeping users attached to Apple-based apps, the tech behemoth will reliably sell more of its next phone and music player iterations. So before we start-patting them on the back, ask yourself why the richest company in the world “gave in” so easily. They’ll get their revenue in the end.

Disclosure: None.

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Lalob Holograma 7 years ago Member's comment

I don´t think Taylor is very good at math, but i guess she's not completely stupid, she probably leaves that to other people. In fact, when not finding her music on spotify, her fans will turn to other sources to get her music, probably record stores or itunes, it's not that people that go into spotify buy anything, they buy what they like, and if it's not there, they will look for other means to get it. So i'm not that sure that she will loose all those millions you mention... She just has to be very on top of the pirate sites so that her fans have no option but to buy her stuff from itunes or record stores.