Apple Music Changes Its Tune, Will Pay Artists During 3-Month Free Trial

iphone6-3up-applemusic-features-pr-print-1Breaking news: It appears that musicians would like to be paid for their work. After Apple announced it’d be giving customers a free three-month trial of its new streaming Music service, artists and others who contribute to making music weren’t too pleased to find out they’d be receiving royalties of 70% of nothing for that time period. The company has now changed its tune, and says it will pay musicians after all.

Popular musician Taylor Swift wrote an open letter titled “To Apple, Love Taylor,” criticizing Apple’s decision to keep the purse strings tied during those first three months, and explaining why she’d be holding back her new album from the new streaming service.

“I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months,” Swift wrote. “I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company. ”

While recognizing that Apple is moving toward a model that pays artists for streaming, Swift notes that three months is a long time not to get paid — for anyone. She added that it wasn’t about her, as she can support herself and her team by playing live shows.

“This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success,” Swift wrote.

Her letter went viral, prompting Apple’s senior vice president of internet services and software Eddy Cue to announce on Twitter one day later that the company will pay artists during the free trial period.

“We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists,” Cue wrote on Twitter. “Love, Apple.”

He told Billboard the decision to pay artists came after reading Swift’s letter.

“When I woke up this morning and saw what Taylor had written, it really solidified that we needed a change,” Cue said. “And so that’s why we decide we will now pay artists during the trial period.”

He added that others were grumbling as well, citing “concern from a lot of artists” and saying it was “never our intent” to not pay people, but that Apple had planned to negotiate a higher royalty rate, which the company is going to stick with.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.