As Apple kicked off it’s June 30th launch of the revamped Apple Music Service (Beats music), there were many kinks and controversies along the way. The controversy was that Apple was not planning to pay artists for the 3-month trial period of the service. Many artists spoke up against not being paid for the use of their streamed songs in the 3-month trial period. Many artists threatened Apple to pull their music from the streaming service all together. Artist and activist Taylor Swift took to Tumblr in a letter stating that she was speaking on the behalf of her fellow musicians who were hesitant to speak out against the tech giant.
Swift said, “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.”
Swift closed the letter by saying it was too late for Apple to change their minds on the matter. Swift says “We don’t ask you for free iPhones, please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
In November 2014 Taylor Swift took the stand against Spotify, just days before her 1989 album release. Swift decided to pull her entire catalog from the streaming service. Swift said that the services’ freemium model has devalued music. However, Swift’s old music is available on paid subscription-based streaming services such as Tidal and Rdio.
After Taylor Swift’s Letter on Tumbir Apple decided to pay artists discounted royalty rate per-stream. According to Digital Music News the discounted rate per-stream will $0.002 or 1/5th of a penny for the trail period.
I believe that Swift’s letter may had a small impact, however not a major impact. The real reason Apple made the change was the fact that they were starting a new streaming service that needed artists and their music. Apple would have looked foolish to have a trial period without many artists and songs. No consumer would buy into Apple’s Service at that point.
Swift was right that freemium services do devalue music. Streaming services devalue music and have yet seen a profit; the business model is faulted and unsustainable. Streaming services with the same business model will never off set the decreasing sales of music.
Apple’s music service is no different than Spotify’s, it looks the same and even runs the same way. Apple should stick to what they know best and bail out while they can.