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Taylor Swift Condemns Apple's Free Music Trial in an Open Letter

Illustration for article titled Taylor Swift Condemns Apples Free Music Trial in an Open Letter

In an open letter to Apple, Taylor Swift explains that Apple Music won’t be getting her latest album 1989, because the service isn’t planning to pay artists, producers, or writers during the 3-month free trial period subscribers enjoy when they sign up.


The letter, which appeared today on the singer’s Tumblr, explains that the decision isn’t about her own profit (no doubt, Taylor Swift still stands to earn significant net gains by forking her music over to Apple Music), but rather, it’s about fairness to new and upcoming songwriters and producers, for whom early album sales are critical:

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.


Swift applauds Apple for working toward the goal of paid streaming, but points out that “three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.”

Read Swift’s full letter to Apple here.

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The thing is I don’t understand Apple’s view on this. Why DON’T they pay artists during the 3-month trial and use it as a selling point that they pay artists better, use it to sign up more artists like Taylor, etc. This service is a loss-leader for Apple. They’re using it to get more people on the Apple platform and buy more devices. Certainly they want to make money on it but that’s through long-term subscriptions, not via whether or not they lose money because people streamed too many songs during the three-month trial and then never signed up. I honestly cannot believe the math does not work out in their favor to pay artists during the trial and thereby get all popular artists on the platform and get more people signed up and in the system.