Apple Music to Taylor Swift and indies: ‘We hear you’

Taylor Swift performs in Cologne, Germany, on June 19.

Taylor Swift performs in Cologne, Germany, on June 19.

(Sascha Steinbach / Getty Images)

Leave it to Taylor Swift to get Apple to change its stance on music royalties.

Apple Inc. said Sunday it will pay independent labels and artists for music on its new Apple Music streaming service during its three-month free trial period, reversing its earlier policy in the face of criticism from Swift and others.

MORE: Apple changes its tune for Taylor Swift: What have we learned?

“Apple will always make sure that artist[s] are paid,” iTunes and Apple Music head Eddy Cue said in a post on Twitter on Sunday night. “#AppleMusic will pay artist[s] for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period.”


The tech giant changed its tune after Swift complained about its tactics in a blog post titled, “To Apple, Love Taylor,” in which she said her latest album “1989” would not be available on the service.

“I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company,” she wrote. “Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.”

Apple Music will charge $9.99 a month for access to the 30 million songs in its library, but will allow new users to try it for free for 90 days. The service is set to launch June 30 in 100 countries.

Swift has not been shy in her dealings with music-streaming tech companies. Last fall, she pulled her songs from Spotify, the world’s largest subscription streaming music service.

The singer-songwriter was not alone in protesting Apple’s policy of not paying royalties during the free trials. Independent record company Beggars Group voiced concern last week in a public letter to artists and managers.

A2IM, an advocacy group for independent music companies, had also cautioned its member labels against Apple Music.


With its about-face, Apple likely avoids a high-profile standoff with one of the world’s most popular music artists shortly before a major launch.

“We hear you,” Cue tweeted to Swift.

Swift took to Twitter to claim her victory.

“I am elated and relieved,” she wrote. “Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.”

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder