Taylor Swift rocked Apple to its core on Sunday.
The chart-topping artist posted a blistering open letter on her Tumblr account explaining why she wasn’t selling her recent album, “1989,” on Apple’s forthcoming streaming music service.
She slammed Apple for not paying artist royalties during the initial free three-month trial period for new users, calling it “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.” Last year, Swift pulled her music from Spotify over the meager amount of royalties it pays to artists.
Perhaps more surprising than the letter itself was the fact that it didn’t come off as particularly greedy, unlike her friends at Tidal who were labeled as such immediately after launch. It wasn’t about her, rather the new generation of singers and bands “that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success.”
She added: “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.”
Her letter resonated. The tweet, which linked to her Tumblr letter, amassed 37,000 retweets and 61,000 faves. Her letter racked up 70,000 notes on Tumblr. Pressure started piling on from other artists, like Bleachers singer Jack Antonoff who retweeted the letter calling it “powerful and important.” Elvis Costello called it “a note from our future president”
About 20 hours after Swift posted the letter, the company changed course. Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of music, tweeted that it will pay artists during the free trial period.
We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple
— Eddy Cue (@cue) June 22, 2015
In exchange for the lack of royalties during the free trial period, Apple was going to pay a rate of 71.5 percent of the money it collects from sales — 1.5 percent more than the industry average — once the pay period begins. (Unlike competitors, Apple doesn’t have a free subscription level.)
Music executives told the New York Times that they were concerned about the loss of income it would have to endure if a major album dropped during the free trial, thus losing out on a windfall of money.
That won’t be the case anymore.
Cue told Recode they will pay artists on a per-stream basis, but didn’t disclose how much. He did admit that Swift’s social media campaign did prompt the change.
“I did reach out to Taylor today, and talked to her, and let her know that we heard her concerns and wanted her to know that we were making changes,” Cue said about her phone conversation with Swift, adding that she was “thrilled to hear from them.”
It’s unclear if this will prompt Swift to upload “1989” to Apple Music when it launches June 30. Regardless, it was a victory for Swift:
I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 22, 2015
Now if only Swift could tell Apple to get rid of the Tips app that clutters everyone’s home screens.
CMO Strategies: How marketers’ social platform budgets stack up — from Instagram to TikTok
Digiday+ Research has analyzed strategies and challenges across leading marketing channels to identify key trends and best practices in our CMO Strategies series. First up: social media usage and budgets.
Culture Brands’ Eunique Jones Gibson wants to help brands uplift, empower stories for African Americans
When Eunique Jones Gibson, founder of the Black-owned marketing agency Culture Brands, launched her agency in 2017, the 39-year-old business leader wanted to demonstrate that she could ignite conversation, introspection and social change in the industry.
Danone’s Light + Fit brand invests in digital video ad spend, but won’t let go of linear TV
Danone-owned yogurt brand Light + Fit is doubling down on its streaming ad strategy, including investing in Netflix for the first time.
SponsoredWhat the measurement and currency discussion really means to TV advertisers
Ali Mack, head of TV and agency, Experian Major streaming video providers have recently made headlines by adopting new currencies for ad measurement, threatening Nielsen’s long-standing TV ratings monopoly. NBCUniversal, for example, has certified iSpot and VideoAmp as currencies for advanced audiences and formed the Joint Industry Committee with Paramount, TelevisaUnivision and Warner Bros. Discovery. […]
The ANA parts ways with PwC in its ongoing ad tech transparency project
Sources claim the trade organization ended the relationship amid frustration with developments.
Marketing Briefing: Why marketers are seeking deeper partnerships with artists to remix songs, offer experiences
By working with musicians and celebrities, brands can potentially generate more attention and become a part of culture, according to agency execs, who say that brands are looking for anything that can help them connect to culture more deeply.