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Not even Apple can withstand the power of Taylor Swift

You know your words have power when your opinion can influence even Apple’s decisions. That’s exactly what happened when Taylor Swift published an open letter in which she criticizes Apple for its decision to not pay artists when people listen to their music during Apple Music’s three-month free trial, which is especially bad for indie artists. To be fair, the massive amounts of criticism that Apple was receiving from consumers and indie artists alike was the biggest reason for the company’s decision to backtrack and pay royalties during Apple Music’s free trial, but Taylor Swift’s open letter was definitely a significant factor. 

Apple will pay royalties to music labels and publishers during the three-month free trial of its Apple Music streaming service, the company has confirmed, after protests from independent labels and musician Taylor Swift. Swift appears to have been the tipping point in the row that had been rumbling all week, after she published a blog post – To Apple, Love Taylor – calling on Apple to abandon its plans for no payouts during the trial period. Apple’s senior vice president for internet software and services Eddy Cue responded directly to the star on Twitter in announcing the company’s u-turn. “Apple will always make sure that artist are paid,” tweeted Cue. “#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period. We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.” Cue told BuzzFeed that Apple will pay a “per-stream” royalty during the trial, revealing that he had already called Swift to tell her about the change of plans. “Taylor Swift’s tweet today solidified the issue for us, we decided to make a change,” he told BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski, while confirming that Swift hasn’t yet agreed a deal to put her music on Apple Music. Apple Music is the company’s long-anticipated rival to streaming services like Spotify, and is due to launch in more than 100 countries at the end of June. Although a monthly subscription will cost $9.99, or $14.99 for a family of up to six people, Apple is making its new service free for three months so that people can try it out. After striking licensing deals with major labels, the company had planned to only start paying royalties after the trial period.

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