In an open letter she has posted on her Tumblr blog, Taylor Swift has explained why she is withholding her latest album from Apple Music – she doesn’t like the fact that Apple won’t pay any royalties during the three months free trial of its new music streaming service.
“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,” she wrote.
“I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”
As reported by Re/code, while Apple will give at least 70 percent of its subscription revenue to music labels, it will not pay royalties during the three months trial period. Apple’s Robert Kondrk defended the move, saying that it will compensate the labels thanks to the payouts in future, which apparently are a few percentage higher than the industry standard.
However, that hasn’t convinced Taylor Swift – who famously withheld her entire catalogue from Spotify because of the free tier they offer. While Apple Music will still have her previous albums, 1989 will not (despite making several appearances in Apple’s WWDC keynote earlier this month).
While she’s happy that Apple is trying to move everyone towards paid streaming of music – even describing it as “beautiful progress” – she wants Apple to change their mind about not paying royalties. She argues that Apple’s decision will have a significant impact to new artists, bands, producers and songwriters who live by royalties.
“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,” she writes.
“Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.”
It will be interesting to see how Apple responds.