We have to admit, we haven’t been following the Taylor Swift/Apple news that closely. Not because it’s not interesting, it’s just because we weren’t that interested. However, streaming is a hot topic and anything Taylor Swift does is worth taking note, particularly as it relates to the business of music. Having said that, if you’re not an industry wonk, here’s a great article from Business Insider that sums up the Swift-Apple “kerfuffle.”
With a single blog post, Taylor Swift apparently convinced Apple to change its policy regarding how it compensates artists during the free trial period for its new streaming service, Apple Music.
That’s a big deal — in the past, Apple has been known to stand its ground when dealing with the music industry. And it shows the type of power Swift has over the streaming business.
Most of Monday morning’s headlines revolved around the idea that Apple had caved into Swift’s demands, and the 26-year-old pop star has been praised for changing the music industry.
But really, the kerfuffle between Swift and Apple is actually beneficial for Apple for a few reasons.
Most people who weren’t initially interested in Apple Music probably now know what it is.
To say that Taylor Swift has a massive following would be an understatement.
So, although her blog post called out Apple for not treating artists fairly, the whole fiasco put Apple Music in the spotlight for millions of people.
If you read closely, you can see that Swift actually praises Apple.
Yes, Swift says that Apple’s initial decision not to pay writers, producers, and artists during that three month trial period is “shocking” and “disappointing.” But she also calls Apple one of her “best partners” in selling 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.
But more importantly, she hints that she favors Apple compared to other streaming services, while emphasizing how much she respects the company. She writes (emphasis is our own):
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.
While she doesn’t agree with Apple’s initial decision, it’s clear that Swift is a big fan of Apple. She also implies that Apple has a decent amount of power over the music industry since she writes that other artists are “afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much.”
Apple comes out looking like the good guy, especially compared to Spotify.
Last year, Taylor Swift pulled all of her albums from Spotify because she doesn’t agree with free music streaming. Here’s how she explained it when speaking with Time:
With Beats Music and Rhapsody you have to pay for a premium package in order to access my albums. And that places a perception of value on what I’ve created. On Spotify, they don’t have any settings, or any kind of qualifications for who gets what music. I think that people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created, and that’s that.
Now, about seven months later, Swift’s albums are still unavailable on Spotify. But Apple is showing from the start that it’s willing to listen to the points Swift has to make about the music industry, which likely resonates well with her fans and other artists that want to jump on board.
Apple Music officially launches on June 30. After the free three month trial, Apple charges $9.99 per month for a single user and $14.99 per month for its family plan.
We’re not saying that Apple planned the whole thing. But it certainly took something that could’ve been a disaster and turned it into gold.