You have to hand it to Taylor Swift - when she speaks people listen. After an open letter criticizing Apple for not paying artists and songwriters during its free 3 month trial period on Sunday, the company has decided to do the right thing and pay up.
While Taylor Swift has a huge audience, this amounts to more damage control by Apple than anything. The noise on the subject from indie artists had begun to swell last week in the news and was getting louder by the day, but Ms. Swift’s argument that artists and songwriters should be paid put it over the top.
The one thing that Apple can’t afford right now is any negativity floating around Apple Music, and with the launch only a few days away, it was imperative that the story turn positive. Inaction would have caused the negativity to linger and even grow, and the company needed to eliminate any reason for consumers not to try the new service.
The fact of the matter is that with a war chest of $178 billion of cash on hand, the money paid to artists and songwriters over the trial period is a drop in the bucket that the it could easily absorb. It’s also a fact that the Apple could have done nothing and survived the inevitable blowback that would happen as well.
But give credit where credit is due, the biggest music star in America took on the biggest company in the world and won.
It will cost Apple a little money that it should easily recoup should Apple Music reach the expected subscription levels, but in the end everyone is a winner with this decision.
Consumers will find a larger catalog filled with many more of the artists they love, artists and songwriters get paid for their hard work, as do the record labels and publishers, and Apple Music gets some positive spin right when it needs it most.