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Taylor Swift Slams Apple Music’s “Shocking, Disappointing” Royalties Policy

Written by Emmy Mack on June 22, 2015

Taylor Swift has got some Bad Blood with Apple. The pop superstar has officially gone into bat for the independent artists of the world, whom she says will be stiffed under the “shocking, disappointing” royalties policy of the digital music giant’s new streaming platform, Apple Music.

Through the medium of the open letter, T-Swizzle has added her voice to a choir of naysayers, including The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe and the entire Australian Indie Labels Association, who reckon that the service’s free trial policy is, not to put too fine a point on it, dodgy.

As Music Feeds has previously reported, during Apple Music’s three month free trial period, a grand total of zero dollars in royalties will be paid to rights holders, including artists, writers, and producers. And Tay Tay has a beef with that.

In an open letter to fans, her Swiftiness has opened up a level-headed can of eloquently phrased whoop-ass on the Apple juggernaut, explaining that she’ll be withholding her new album 1989 from the service as an act of protest.

Like a loving mum who’s not angry, just disappointed, Swift bears her broken heart for the artists whom Apple’s royalties model will hurt: “This is not about me,” she urges. “This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success.

“This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. 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.”

This is far from the first time Swift has been critical of a streaming service. Last year she famously removed her entire catalogue from rival streaming service Spotify, as a statement on the importance of honouring the value of music.

However, Swift also assures fans that she still loves, and will always be proud of, Apple, even though it’s been a very very naughty little corporation: “I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done”, she continues.

“…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”.

Apple has yet to respond to Swift’s stern scolding. But when one of the world’s most powerful women gives you a tongue-lashing like that, you’d best pay attention.

Read swift’s letter, in full, below.

UPDATE 22/06/15: Apple has agreed to pay royalties during Apple Music’s three-month free trial period, with an Apple executive directly addressing Taylor Swift and other artists who disagreed with its original plans.

Watch: Taylor Swift – Bad Blood Feat. Kendrick Lamar

“To Apple, Love Taylor

I write this to explain why I’ll be holding back my album, 1989, from the new streaming service, Apple Music. I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries.

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.

This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. 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.

I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress. We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period… even if it is free for the fans trying it out.

Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.

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.

Taylor”

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