Taylor Swift says she was surprised by positive response to Apple Music letter

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited August 2015
Pop musician Taylor Swift was surprised by the positive response to an open letter criticizing Apple Music royalties, including Apple's quick decision to reverse course, according to an interview published on Tuesday.




The concern was people would see her as obsessed with royalty issues, Swift said to Vanity Fair. In 2014, the musician infamously pulled her music from Spotify, complaining that the service doesn't pay artists as much as they deserve.

Until Apple's sudden turnaround, prompted by the Swift letter, the company had been planning to pay rights holders nothing for tracks streamed during an Apple Music listener's free trial. This would have severely reduced payments for many musicians, publishers, and songwriters, and in fact resulted in no payments at all for the first three months of the service. Several other artists and record labels complained about the prospect.

"My fears were that I would be looked at as someone who just whines and rants about this thing that no one else is really ranting about," Swift said.

She added that the letter was written before dawn in response to Apple Music contracts going out to some of her friends, one of whom sent her a screenshot with the phrase "zero percent compensation to rights holders." Before publishing, she read it to her mother looking for approval.

Swift claimed that Apple treated her "like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about," and much better than Spotify.

"And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine," she said.

Swift is one of the most famous musicians on the planet, and losing her catalog could have potentially harmed the Apple Music launch. After the change in royalty policies, Swift relented on a threat to withhold her latest album, 1989.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,005member
    Pop musician Taylor Swift was surprised by the positive response to an open letter criticizing Apple Music royalties, including Apple's quick decision to reverse course.
    :\
  • Reply 2 of 29
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    She obviously didn't see some sites and some responses then
  • Reply 3 of 29
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,397member

    "What...? Y'all care about what li'l ol' me thinks?"

  • Reply 4 of 29
    She looks like a James Bond villain with a white cat on her lap.
  • Reply 5 of 29
    ktappektappe Posts: 808member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

     

    "What...? Y'all care about what li'l ol' me thinks?"


     

    She's from Pennsylvania. Not too many of us up here say "y'all." 

  • Reply 6 of 29
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    "And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine,"

    but i thought Apple was doomed and spoty was the multi billion dollars ones?

    now if only Taylor can write an open letter about Apple Music's UI.
    gatorguy wrote: »
    :\

    why the face? Was fixing the problem before launch too late? Should they have responded to Taylor before she wrote the letter?
    or is this just your daily Apple hate exercise?
  • Reply 7 of 29
    cali wrote: »
    "And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine,"

    but i thought Apple was doomed and spoty was the multi billion dollars ones?

    now if only Taylor can write an open letter about Apple Music's UI.
    why the face? Was fixing the problem before launch too late? Should they have responded to Taylor before she wrote the letter?
    or is this just your daily Apple hate exercise?

    Em I have absolutely no problem with the UI. I really like it and I have no learning curve using it. I find it easy to discover new songs with that UI (Dire Straits for example). Sorry it didn't work for you
  • Reply 8 of 29

    Enough of Taylor Swift! Taylor, by the way, how is your latest stunt with China coming along?

  • Reply 9 of 29
    larryalarrya Posts: 581member
    I wish she would write me an open letter.
  • Reply 10 of 29
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I believe Swift meant well (probably not just a publicity move) and the outcome is a good one for everyone. Apple responded well too.

    But, as I understand it, things were never so shocking, nor as bad for musicians, as she (and so many others) believed from reading that one phrase. Despite what has been repeated ad nauseam, it was NEVER musicians giving up their livelihood in some evil-greedy-Apple way:

    - The free-period terms were the SAME as with all the other streaming companies. (Just a longer timeframe: 3 months vs 1.) In other words, the musicians get no money for that particular temporary subsegment of trial music listening (NOT for "all their work"). But the streaming service (Apple in this case) ALSO gets no money for that subsegment. All partners, not just on the music side, are giving away their joint product for free. Not unreasonable to me.

    - The additional 2 months' free period comes to 1/6 of a year, no effect after year one. It's a flash in the pan.

    - The terms that Apple is now paying for that 60 days are apparently similar to what any company's free tier pays--which is to say, almost nothing. It's NOT going to make or break a large artist or a small one. (Plus Apple's paying for the additional 30 days--the one month other services offer as free trials, "without paying musicians." Apple has done more than match the standard scenario, they have exceeded it.)

    [B]- Apple's service pays WAY better than any other in the long run: 7x as much as the usual average, is the figure I have seen. This is because they do NOT have a free tier after the trial (not to mention, paying a slightly higher % even on the paid tier). And this near-worthless-to-musicians free tier that other companies offer forever via ads, Apple is cutting off after the trial. That is huge. THAT is going to make or break musicians. Apple is a savior to musicians in this scenario, not a robber baron, and anyone who thinks about the actual numbers knows it.[/B]

    - People who say it would take ages for a musician to recover that lost 60 days of free-tier streaming revenue aren't thinking clearly. The lost amount (now regained) was vanishingly small, and the 7x boost to come is not.

    - A longer free trial entices more customers. That's the purpose of any sale or giveaway or promo. It helps ALL partners in the venture--Apple and musicians/labels alike. NOT just Apple.

    - Yes, ANY streaming service will reduce song purchases also... but that's happening anyway, with or without Apple. And the difference is, with Apple, people would actually be listening to more music--AND paying more money per year--than the average music buyer. Plus, music buying doesn't just vanish either (in fact, Apple Music is in part a discovery method that leads to purchases. In a "Pandora" way, but also via the DJs.)

    - So, in short, Apple offered the same free-trial terms as anyone, but with a 60-day-longer trial period. Culminating in 7x the income to musicians/labels ongoing. I doubt Apple--or the music labels--cared very much either way about the terms of the free period. I bet Apple was like "THIS detail gets an open letter? Shrug."

    I don't blame Taylor's mother for not knowing the facts, and I may have a few twisted myself--but I think the big picture is correct. I'd have expected tech blogs and podcasts to get more right than they have.
  • Reply 11 of 29
    bheitbheit Posts: 15member

    If I'm not mistaken Taylor Swift's company had already signed an agreement with Apple by the time her "letter" emerged.  This whole thing smells of a publicity stunt which seems to have benefited both sides.  I hope Apple doesn't get into the habit of this kind of thing.  They have a legacy to uphold as the the most admired company on the planet.  Leave this kind of garbage to the pop stars, OK gang!

  • Reply 12 of 29
    krreagankrreagan Posts: 218member

    "What...? Y'all care about what li'l ol' me thinks?"

    No!

  • Reply 13 of 29
    krreagankrreagan Posts: 218member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    She looks like a James Bond villain with a white cat on her lap.



    Actually... A Johnny Carson quote came to mind... After a guest asked if he would like to kiss her pussy "She had a cat on her lap" Carson replied "Only if you move the cat" during the commercial break - Some thing like this anyway...

  • Reply 14 of 29
    Release the anti-Taylor Swift (Kanye West)!
  • Reply 15 of 29
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 902member
    and like everyone else (mostly), she didn't really understand the issue. and once again, she's in the spotlight. i'm guessing her 1837 album isn't all that.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,942member
    She was just a pawn in the high stake negotiation, the fact they are still taking about this tells me this was a game they were trying to play out in public view. Do anyone really know if the artist are getting their pennies for the first 3 months. they claim apple turn around, but are the artist getting the money or are the lable getting the money. People are just assuming they are.
  • Reply 17 of 29
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    radster360 wrote: »
    Enough of Taylor Swift! Taylor, by the way, how is your latest stunt with China coming along?

    ¿Que? You're hatred for Taylor is so strong that you're against someone taking issue with Chinese knockoffs? You may not want to be on an Apple-focused forum if you're pro-counterfeiting.
  • Reply 19 of 29
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,666member
    I like Taylor Swft's letter and thought she was absolutely right. I have no reason to believe she was not genuinely concerned. Just because she is hugely successful does not mean she has no integrity (much like a fruit company I know). I thought Apple's response was the only right response and Apple clearly thought so, too. Both from a business perspective and from a moral (for lack of a better word), perspective. I also believe TS when she says she was surprised at the response to her letter.

    Some stories are like that. No point in using it as a way of painting Talor Swift in a bad light nor dishing out negativity, imo.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    "And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine," she said."

    ZING!
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