Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, sat down with Billboard to discuss his company's recent experience with singer Taylor Swift. The musician refused to make her current album, 1989, available to Apple Music streaming as long as artists were unpaid during the forthcoming service's three-month trial period.
In the interview, Cue discussed reading Taylor's open letter to Apple as well as the thought process that prompted Apple to change its course:
"We've been hearing a lot of concern from indie artists about not getting paid during the three-month trial period, which was never our intent. We never looked at it as not paying them.
We had originally negotiated these deals based on paying them a higher royalty rate on an ongoing basis to compensate for this brief time. But when I woke up this morning and saw what Taylor had written, it really solidified that we needed to make a change. And so that's why we decided we will now pay artists during the trial period and we'll also keep the royalty rate at the higher rate."
Cue also noted that, while happy with the change, Apple will be eating the cost of the new arrangement:
"We're certainly paying for it yes. We're all in. But we view this as: music is a part of our DNA -- we talk about it a lot. We love music and we've always strived to have great relationships with the music community and we have a deep respect for what they do. We're in this for the long term. "
Our take on the news:
Good on you, Apple. That was the right call. Not only for artists less famous and well-off than Swift, but for the industry. Apple will keep the higher price rate in place after the trial, which is a nice surprise, and will build a lot of good will among musicians.
Now we're just waiting for Taylor to announce the streaming availability of 1989.