Taylor Swift recently became the most prominent artist to denounce Apple Music’s free three-month trial.
She announced via blog post on her Tumblr page that her album 1989 would not be available for streaming, in protest of Apple’s “shocking” and “disappointing” decision not to pay artists or producers for song plays during the trial period.
“I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming,” Ms. Swift said. “I think that is beautiful progress. We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period … even if it is free for the fans trying it out.”
Though she declared that “three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for free,” the seven-time Grammy-winning hit writer acknowledged that, personally, she could absorb the loss in revenues – rather, she was speaking on behalf of the new and lesser-known artists and producers that would not be able to afford the loss.
“These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child,” Swift said. “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. We simply do not respect this particular call.”
Anton Newcombe, frontman of the band Brian Jonestown Massacre, expressed similar outrage in a series of Twitter posts. He claimed he had been given the option either to let Apple Music stream his songs for free during the trial period, or to have his music removed from iTunes completely.
The biggest company on earth wants to use my work to make money for 3 months and pay me nothing - of I say no,I'm banned— antonnewcombe (@antonnewcombe) June 17, 2015
An Apple spokesperson told Rolling Stone this was untrue: “[Their music] will not be taken off."
Andy Heath, chairman of a British music industry lobby group, told the Telegraph that he did not know of any independent labels that had agreed to Apple’s terms, saying they would “literally put people out of business.”
“Apple is sitting there with this massive pile of cash and saying to us, ‘You help us start a new business.’ Well I just don’t think it is going to happen on these terms,” Mr. Heath said.
Apple Music is set to launch June 30. Once a user’s free trial period expires, the service will cost $9.99 a month. After the free window closes, Apple will start paying labels per song play, the way other streaming services like Spotify do.
Swift, who also famously pulled her music from Spotify last year out of similar concern for low royalty payments, says she will reverse her decision if Apple changes its policy and recognizes the value of the music they are streaming.
“We don’t ask you for free iPhones," she wrote. "Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”