The music industry at large has Taylor Swift to thank this morning.
The singer penned an open letter condemning Apple for not paying artists royalties during the trial of its new music streaming service in a move she called "shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company."
In the Tumblr missive entitled "To Apple, Love Taylor," Swift wrote that she planned to hold back her '1989' album from the site, stating: “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
The expectation these days that all media - music, movies, writing - should be free is endemic. We think nothing of burning or borrowing, but artists deserve to earn a living, too.
It's a pretty simple equation, really: If you enjoy it, pay for it.
To her credit, Swift's tone remained respectful and tactful:
"This is not about me. This is about the young songwriter ... This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.
These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child. These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much. We simply do not respect this particular call."
Proof that manners really do help you get what you want - especially if you are Taylor Swift. Mere hours later, no doubt sensing its colossal fail, Apple capitulated and performed a 180.
Although the company had promised to share revenue from paid subscribers to the new Apple Music service, it hadn't planned to pay artists during the free three-month introductory period. Apple Music will cost $10 per month, of which just over 70 per cent will go toward shared royalties.
Kudos to Swift - who has previously pulled her music from the free, ad-based site Spotify - for speaking up and to Apple for listening.
Image Source: WikiCommons