Apple backtracks over music royalty payments following Taylor Swift attack

Apple has Swiftly backtracked on its decision not to pay royalty payments to musicians during a three month free trial period on its new streaming service, following a backlash led by Taylor Swift.

In an open letter published on Sunday Swift denounced the decision as ‘shocking’ and vowed to withhold her latest album, 1989, from Apple Music in protest, a move which risked damaging the Apple brand in the sector.

In the letter Swift wrote: “…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.

“We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

The missive soon had the desired effect as later that evening as Apple’s Eddy Cue, senior vice president of internet software and services, tweeted: “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”

Detail on Apple’s change of heart hasn’t yet been forthcoming but Apple is thought to be considering a nominal fee for the use of such music, albeit lower than that paid for streamed music for full subscribers.

Apple says it will pay out a larger share of subscription fees than rival services, keeping 28.5 per cent of US fees and 27 per cent of fees in other markets. Most other services demand a cut of 30 per cent.

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