After posting an open letter to Apple on her Tumblr page about Apple's free streaming policy for its upcoming music service, popular artist Taylor Swift managed to get the company to change course -- Apple now planning to pay artist royalties during its three-month free trial period of Apple Music. But, thanks to a new statement provided to The Wall Street Journal, it appears artists' satisfaction with the policy change could become turbulent again, with the Cupertino-based company suggesting the royalty rate during the free trial period will be somewhat lower than normal.

swift-apple

Apple declined to say how much it plans to pay during the trial period, though it said the rate will increase once customers start paying for subscriptions. In the first three months of the service’s life there will be no subscriber royalty rate on which to base the rates. The company could find other ways to calculate a rate and is expected to share its plans with music companies soon.

Apple risks raising the ire of Ms. Swift and others if it comes in with what would appear to be a lowball offer.

Attempting to ballpark Apple's possible payment rate for the free trial, The Wall Street Journal compares the Apple service to Spotify's free, ad-supported option, which they point out pays royalties of "about one-fifth of the subscription service." Last December, that was essentially 0.14 of a cent for each listen in the United States, which Spotify had to pay a grand total of $5.8 million for its free tier alone for the month.

If Apple goes in under its traditional 71.5 percent revenue sharing policy -- which is likely to happen given the wording used when speaking to the WSJ -- it could still end up paying out millions of dollars to the various artists, songwriters, and producers that Swift became the defacto figurehead of after Apple listened to her letter over the weekend.

Although, as the WSJ points out, some in the industry appeared content with the original free trial period policy, given Apple's promise of an above-industry standard of 71.5 percent royalty payment, compared to the basic 70 percent payed out by competitors such as Spotify and Google. Apple has yet to comment any further on the issue, but its shifting viewpoint on the topic, so close to Apple Music's launch, is undeniably an impressive feat for Swift.

Top Rated Comments

parnas Avatar
97 months ago
Apple regrets their decision to open source Swift already.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
baryon Avatar
97 months ago
It's Apple's decision to have a free trial, not the artist's, so why doesn't Apple deal with it? If Tesco gives you free Kit Kats as part of a promotion, then they don't automatically expect Kit Kat to give them for free to Tesco. If you get a free 1 month trial of Photoshop, that doesn't mean the developers don't get paid for a month, it means Adobe figures it out from their own stock of money.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Menel Avatar
97 months ago
Somebody ran the numbers on this deal and it takes 8 years for an artist to recoup the benefits. Just pay the royalties Apple.
It's easy to spend money that isn't yours... especially based on unreferenced, mystery sourced figures pulled out of your ass.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Benjamin Frost Avatar
97 months ago
Cough up, Apple.

Enough with the nickel and diming.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crosscreek Avatar
97 months ago
Somebody ran the numbers on this deal and it takes 8 years for an artist to recoup the benefits. Just pay the royalties Apple.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
phillipduran Avatar
97 months ago
She's gonna write a song about you if you're not careful Apple.

You don't want that.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro hands snowflakes 1

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 1:55 pm PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2022 is no different. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like the iPhone 13. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
ipad holiday bulbs

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:25 pm PST by
Black Friday deals have been in full swing for the better part of a month, and now that the shopping holiday is officially here we're seeing even more solid discounts on Apple devices. We're highlighting the best sales for all of Apple's product lines, and in this article you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner ...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Although Black Friday is now technically over, many Apple products are still seeing major discounts. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale that's still available. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of...
apple watch gold ornaments

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 9:31 am PST by
We're tracking all of the best Apple product discounts for Black Friday this week, and the Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, so you're guaranteed to find solid discounts right now. In this article, you'll discover the best Black Friday sales on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these...
mac imac snowflakes

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 1:07 pm PST by
Our Black Friday coverage continues today with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
airpods pro 2

Apple Engineer Addresses Lack of Lossless Support on New AirPods Pro

Friday November 25, 2022 2:58 am PST by
An Apple engineer has addressed the lack of lossless audio support in the second-generation AirPods Pro in a new interview. Current Bluetooth technology in the AirPods lineup means that Apple's audio products do not support Apple Music Lossless audio. Apple has previously hinted that it may develop its own codec and connectivity standard that builds on AirPlay and supports higher quality...
maxresdefault

Nothing Phone 1 Displays AirPods Battery Level After Latest OS Update

Friday November 25, 2022 3:33 am PST by
Nothing Phone 1 users today began receiving the Nothing OS 1.1.7 update, which adds support for displaying the battery percentage of connected AirPods, amongst other improvements and bug fixes. If you own a Nothing Phone 1, you can check for the OTA update by going to Settings -> System -> System updates. Bear in mind that as support for displaying AirPods battery level is still an...
new airpods lineup black friday

Best Black Friday AirPods Deals Still Available

Tuesday November 22, 2022 10:01 am PST by
Although we've been tracking Black Friday deals for a few weeks now, the shopping holiday is officially kicking off this week and we're highlighting the best sales for each of Apple's product lines. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and AirPods Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
Manchester United flag

No, Apple Isn't Planning to Buy Manchester United

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:19 pm PST by
Apple is not currently planning to purchase Premier League club Manchester United, according to a source familiar with the matter. A report earlier today from British tabloid The Daily Star claimed that Apple had expressed an interest in buying Manchester United for around $7 billion, but our source with direct knowledge of the situation said the report is false. Manchester United has...