Apple Music Backs Down: Will Pay Labels During Free Trial After Taylor Swift Letter

Apple Store New York - H - 2015
Associated Press

The pop star is hard to ignore.

Apple has decided to change course and pay labels for the rights to stream their music during a 90-day free trial. The moves come after Taylor Swift penned an open letter to the hardware giant, writing that she found the company's insistence "disappointing" and "shocking."  

In a tweet, senior vice president of internet services and software Eddy Cue wrote that Apple would pay artists during the 90-day period. 

In an interview with Billboard, Cue elaborated that it was Swift's letter that turned him around on the issue. "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."

Cue added that Apple had heard the same "concern from a lot of artists," noting that it was "never our intent" to not compensate artists, rather they were planning to originally negotiate a higher royalty rate, which they will stick with.

Asked if Apple is eating the cost of the 90-day trial period, Cue said, "We're certainly paying for it, yes. We're all in."

Once the decision was made by Cue and Apple CEO Tim Cook, Cue called Swift on the phone from her tour in Amsterdam. "I let her know that we heard her concerns and are making the changes," Cue said. "We have a long relationship with Taylor, so I wanted her to hear directly from us."

Swift's reaction: "She was thrilled and very thankful and excited to see how quick we responded."

Cue emphasized the company's long history with "the music community," adding, "We have a deep respect for what they do. ... We're in this for the long term."

After the news broke Sunday night of Apple deciding to pay labels during the trial, Swift tweeted that she was "elated and relieved" by the change. "They listened to us," she added.

Her tweet is below.

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