Apple Music reverses royalties policy after Taylor Swift pressure

Apple has reversed a decision to withhold artist royalty payments on its new Apple Music streaming service following pressure from popstar Taylor Swift.

The musician sparked a public backlash when she postedan open letter on her Tumblr page yesterday denouncing Apple's plan to withhold artists' royalties during a three-month free trial to new users of the app.

The tech giant responded by performing a quick U-turn, with senior VP for internet software and services, Eddy Cue, writing on Twitter: "#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer's free trial period.We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple."

Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music pay musicians a small amount of money each time their song is played, but under the previously proposed set-up, any track played by users during their free trial period would not have generated any income for artists or producers.

Swift wrote yesterday:"I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company."

Her letter also stated that the letter was in defence of indie musicians less well-known than the 25-year old megastar, and contained "the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer" in her industry.

It came after Swift pulled her entire back catalogue from Spotify after arguing musicians were underpaid by the service, and she threatened Apple with a similar move, withholding her smash-hit album, 1989, until the dispute was resolved.

It is currently unknown what Apple's new royalties payment structure will be. The company was previously planning to compensate artists for the unpaid three months by paying a higher-than-usual rate for all subsequent royalties up to 70 per cent, according to some sources.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.