Taylor Swift Criticizes Apple Music's Free Trial in Open Letter

A couple days ago BuzzFeed reported that Taylor Swift's new album, "1989", would not be available to stream on Apple Music, denying the service of one of the best-selling albums of the last two years. Today, Swift penned an open letter to the Cupertino company explaining her decision.

I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.
Swift, who calls Apple one of her best partners in selling her music, says that while she is able to take care of herself and her band, crew and management with money from live shows, indie artists do not have the same luxury. She explains that her sentiments about the three-month free trial are echoed by "every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much."

She goes on to say that she understands Apple is working toward a goal of paid streaming and that Apple Music could be the first streaming service that "gets it right" in her eyes in regards to artist compensation. However, she also points out that Apple is "astronomically successful" and could afford to pay artists, writers and producers during the three-month free trial. She closes the open letter asking Apple to reconsider its policy.
But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.
This isn't the first time Apple has received criticism for not paying labels and artists royalties during the 3-month free trial. Last week, indie labels from the United Kingdom who housed artists like Adele argued that the trial period would "put people out of business". Singer-songwriter Anton Newcombe also spoke out about the policy, claiming the Cupertino company threatened to ban his music from iTunes if he did not accept no royalties during the 3-month free trial. Apple denied the claim.

Apple Music will launch in just under 10 days, going live on June 30 as part of an upcoming iOS 8.4 update. After the service's free three-month trial it will cost $9.99 per month for individuals and $14.99 a month for families up to 6.

Top Rated Comments

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60 months ago
I'm not a Taylor Swift fan but good for her.
Rating: 96 Votes
60 months ago
We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.

Rating: 89 Votes
60 months ago
haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate....
Rating: 58 Votes
60 months ago

She just wants a bigger mansion.

And what does Apple want? Oh right, they're not in it for the cash, they're in it to make the world a better place.
Rating: 57 Votes
60 months ago

she needs to back off the streaming industry...NOW

I have to agree with her, those folks work hard at their craft, why give away their stuff for 3 months without payment.

With billions in the bank why not pay the artists what they're due during the free trial period.
Rating: 57 Votes
60 months ago
Eddy Cue needs to go. He's accomplished nothing: Siri still sucks, constant outages to Apple network services and no innovation in his department. He likes to brag about owning a Ferrari and on stage he comes off as a complete tool compared to the other, pretty down-to-earth Apple executives.

He thought buying Beats and Jimmy Iovine is going to be some magical thing that saves his ass. I can't believe Cook fell for his BS. Cut the losses, integrate the headphone business and let Cue go along with Jimmy and Dre.
Rating: 56 Votes
60 months ago
But if you think about it... she wasn't getting anything from Apple Music subscriptions before it was a thing. In 3 months time, she will start getting money from Apple Music subscriptions.

How is it putting people out of jobs when they got 0 before and will get 0 for free months and then something?

People understand that streaming music services are temporary - if they stop paying, they stop being able to listen. Is this really going to hurt CD / iTunes sales? Because if people really support one particular artists they might not stump up the subscription fee just to listen to a handful of artists, and instead they will just buy like they always used to.

I basically don't agree that CD / iTunes sales would be impacted as much as the industry fears.
Rating: 44 Votes
60 months ago
It's called a loss leader... Don't worry you'll be back to pulling in 100's of millions after this terrible trial period.. I hope you can make it until then.
Rating: 43 Votes
60 months ago
As someone who has worked with someone in the indie music industry and my one of my main customers being an artist, I can completely agree with Taylor Swift for once. Its a huge blow as many people won't get paid a single penny for this! As many people will be using he Apple music for free from June, any album released from July to October, none of those artists will be paid for what they what could be streamed a billion times!
People like Taylor can manage that but my friend and customer cannot cope with that - I will lose business also as they wont be able to pay my bills.
I understand a small start up doing this, but the worlds richest company? Can't it afford losing some money on trying to get this service going?
This is not a Problem for Taylor Swift and big bands, but its for the indie artists and the teenager artists in their bed rooms - working all night on a song!
And that to me is why I'm pleased Taylor has put her foot down and said no and that's also why I will still pay for Spotify.
Rating: 41 Votes
60 months ago
Well at least she is asking Apple to pay, rather than asking them to cancel the three month free trial . That trial is a great idea.

That's more than can be said about her stance on Spotify, which, you know, actually *paid* her.

Basically Apple should just stump up the cost.
Rating: 37 Votes

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