back to article Cupertino GIVES IN to Taylor Swift, will pay Apple Music royalties

Taylor Swift has beaten Cupertino: Apple has backed down in the royalty stoush with the chanteuse and agreed to pay, even during Apple Music customers' free trial period. The singer had boycotted Apple's platform over the issue, withholding her album 1989 and calling the prior policy “shocking, disappointing, and completely …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Unappealing to you.... and also to me.

      But to her very considerable target market it works.

      I think it's unlikely that she will change her style to appeal to El Reg reading nerds.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Naselus

          "she seems intelligent enough to realise that we actually buy CDs "

          For those of us born after 1970, these 'CDs' that 1980scoder refers to are big round things that could store incredibly tiny amounts of music and were sold for £15 each. I'm fairly sure Taylor Swift will never have heard of them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Taylor Swift isn't about music. She's about rebellion, about political and social upheaval!

    3. PghMike

      Well, as Jerry Garcia once said, "Well, you can't please everyone."

      I think Apple saw a pile of bad press about how a company with $200 billion in the bank decided it had to screw some musicians out of 3 months of revenue.

      Kudos to Ms Swift -- her statement pretty much guaranteed lots of bad press for Apple if they continued their plan to rip off musicians.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Royalties? What royalties?

    If it was this easy to correct, then how did it happen at all? Is the pressure to make money at Apple so great as to make even this cravenly small extra payout abhorrent to them? And any fule would know what would happen when this 'free' stuff came down, jeez.

    1. Esme

      Re: Royalties? What royalties?

      Because all too many people seem to think that ethics is for private life, not business life. Which is why I have no respect for those who, having amassed huge fortunes from businesses which behave unethically at every turn, then go on to put large amounts of money into charities. Seems like an attempt to buy absolution for past misdemeanours to me entirely on a par with the mediaveal practice of buying pardons from the church.

      Ethics is for life; business is a subset of life - the logic is not difficult, especially not for companies involved in IT.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Royalties? What royalties?

        There is an expectation on corporations to demonstrate growth, growth in sales, growth in profits = growth in shareholder value.

        If a corporation has made humungous amount of cash, then it is under pressure to make even more cash from financial year to financial year, lest it should appear that the corporation is no longer showing growth. Even if it still makes a stupidly obscene amount

        Pressure.

        1. Mike Bell

          Re: Royalties? What royalties?

          Apple f***ed up big time on this one, no doubt about that.

          I imagine that little gets sanctioned within Apple unless it can be demonstrably shown to be turning a profit, despite their hundreds of billions in the bank.

          Example: Apple iCloud comes with 5GB free storage per user. Which, these days, is pretty paltry, especially when you consider that a given Apple user is likely to have more than one Apple device, and Apple certainly try to persuade these users to buy multiple devices. Rather than show a little generosity and bump up that allowance to something far more sensible, like 20GB, Apple are more than happy to bother users with a 79p invoice each month for the privilege.

      2. Joe Drunk

        Re: Royalties? What royalties?

        Which is why I have no respect for those who, having amassed huge fortunes from businesses which behave unethically at every turn, then go on to put large amounts of money into charities. Seems like an attempt to buy absolution for past misdemeanours to me entirely on a par with the mediaveal practice of buying pardons from the church.

        It's always good PR but I would say it's fair to bet that the amounts donated to charities by those possessing huge fortunes would be a lot less if those contributions weren't tax deductible.

    2. dan1980

      Re: Royalties? What royalties?

      @Big John

      Because it's their MO, as it is with most large corporations these days. Their default position is to squeeze and gouge and dictate and control as much as they can, however they can.

      And, seeing as they are a HUGE company with a lot of influence politically and through their market position, they can squeeze and control rather a lot and in any way they want. So that is what they do.

      While in NO sense unique to Apple, this is what they are. They aren't about innovation or about user experience or about being in partnership with users or producers or artists or communities - they are about as much profit as possible.

      And that's valid - they are a corporation after all - people should just understand that.

      Again - this is their way, so it's wrong to suggest it was easy to 'correct' because in their minds, this wasn't an error, it was normal business. Had someone not spoken up like this and forced them to reconsider, it would have stayed as is. It's a change to appease people, not a 'correction' of a bad policy. (From their perspective.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Royalties? What royalties?

        "...as it is with most large corporations these days. Their default position is to squeeze and gouge and dictate and control as much as they can, however they can."

        Much like Ms. Swifts take with Photographers, where she essentially demands that all rights associated with photography of here or her concerts are signed over to her. This is tantamount to Apple demanding the rights to every song of hers that is sold or played through iTunes/Apple music.

        Although this prompted Apple to do the right thing, she is not deserving of your respect. She is as much a leech and any corporation.

        https://junction10.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/those-in-glass-houses-shouldnt-throw-stones/

  3. Forget It
    Mushroom

    Finally the tables are starting to turn?

    https://youtu.be/7rZbvi6Tj6E?t=65

    talking about a revolution

  4. dan1980

    It's really simple - offer a free trial if you want, just pay for the product.

    If I am a butcher and want to give out free samples then that's my business, but I still have to pay my suppliers.

    It's completely reasonable to establish a partnership where you and one of your suppliers work together, such as if (sticking with the butcher analogy) you partnered with a specific local sausage producer who agree to give you a quantity of their produce free so you can offer them as samples for your customers.

    What Apple was doing was to tell artists that if they wanted to distribute their music on iTunes then they would have to provide their product for free for a period. If they were a small company and one of many platforms then artists would just go elsewhere. But, with a dominant position in the market, they are able to make sure bold demands and exploit the artists - much the way the big supermarket chains in Australia exploit farmers.

    This move from Apple was especially deplorable considering how they set prices and prevent retailers offering specials on i-things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If I am a butcher and want to give out free samples then that's my business, but I still have to pay my suppliers.

      If you're a small butcher then that's exactly right, but if you're a Tesco then you do exactly what Apple tried, and screw your suppliers by getting thern to pay for promotions. Disgusting and unethical bullying behaviour seems to be the norm for dominant businesses in all sectors.

      1. dan1980

        @Credas

        Oh - exactly! We have that kind of practice in Australia too as some 90% of supermarket shopping is with the two giants: Woolworths and Coles.

        Farmers tend to get rather screwed.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree with Apple

    ... I'd try to screw Taylor Swift as well.

    1. dan1980

      Re: I agree with Apple

      But then she'd go and write a song about it.

      Perhaps that's why she's always hopping in and out of relationships - more material.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I agree with Apple

        Hey, any port in a storm, I'll take it where I can get it, a wink's as good as a nod.. Etc etc.

        Now, they're not excuses y'see ... It's a track listing from her next album ... Innuendo.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Joke

          "any port in a storm, I'll take it where I can get it, a wink's as good as a nod.. "

          Careful.

          Her lawyers will be hunting you down for copyright infringement.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I agree with Apple

      But reality strikes, and you'll have to stick with "liking her facebook page" you bunch of perverts.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still won't persuade me

    to want to listen to her wailing

    OR

    sign up to any streaming service be it music, TV or films

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Still won't persuade me

      The 90's called, they want their AC back.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Still won't persuade me

        "The 90's called, they want their AC back."

        And coincidentally, the noughties called, wanting their meme back.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Young, tall, blonde, female and given Apple some discomfort.

    What's not to like about her?*

    *Although I keep hearing a line from that Jay Z track "Holy Grail" in my head for some reason.

    1. GregC

      Re: Young, tall, blonde, female and given Apple some discomfort.

      What's not to like about her?

      Her music, for this old fart....

      But fair play to her for at least applying a little braking force to the Apple juggernaut.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very un-Apple

    Hmmm, The normal Apple view would be F@@@ 'em.

    I wonder what's really driving this softball angle?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Very un-Apple

      It was a very bad PR move in this case. IF she or any other "names" hadn't said a word, it would be F@@@ 'em.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple to Artist & Royalties Organisations

    Apple - "For 3 whole months, you won't get a penny from us"

    Artist - "Well screw you! I'm doing ok with Spotify, but I work hard and deserve some credit!"

    Royalties People - "Sooooo... play-ment of copyrighted works for free? That makes you *Apple* a pirate radio station or (sharing works without permission) doesn't it?".

    I think Apple not paying the artist and her being the popular thing at the present time isn't just the only reason?

  10. Geoff Campbell
    Pirate

    Sauce for the goose, etc.

    Although it seems that the Swift business machine is being a bit hypocritical in this:

    https://junction10.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/those-in-glass-houses-shouldnt-throw-stones/#more-339

    GJC

    1. TheProf
      Unhappy

      Re: Sauce for the goose, etc.

      Is it safe to visit Wordpress sites? I'd like to read what you posted but I don't want to catch anything.

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Re: Sauce for the goose, etc.

        A good point. All I can tell you is that I didn't catch anything nasty that time.

        GJC

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Eddy42

    Not on Steve Job's Watch!

    This would never have happened on Steve Job's watch...

    He would never have offered a free trial period in the first place!!

  13. EuroAnchor
    Trollface

    How long is a free trial

    Didn't Grooveshark go pop just because their free trial was a few years longer than Apples?

  14. jake Silver badge

    Who the fuck is this "swift" person?

    And who cares what it's opinion is? Probably outside my demographic ...

    Before you ask, I don't use the goo-tards solution to "we know everything". It's not exactly the most reliable source of information.

    1. Archie Woodnuts

      Re: Who the fuck is this "swift" person?

      I believe she's a popular music hall songstress whom the masses are somewhat taken with, Captain Edge-y. Though not my cup of tea either as I only listen to Darkthrone on cassette.

    2. dan1980

      Re: Who the fuck is this "swift" person?

      @jake

      She is a singer. You know that. Even camped out in the desert with your chillis and your chickens* you know who she is.

      If you don't then I really don't know why you are commenting because you obviously didn't read the article, which clearly states that she is a "singer", on her "fifth album" (which is called "1989") and, if the picture accompanying the article is of the person in question (and I concede this is not assured) then she is an attractive blonde female in her early twenties.

      As for "who cares what her opinion is", my answer is that, first, her fans do. Taken the provided information that she is on her "fifth album" and can "support [her]self", it is apparent that she is successful and, given the age depicted (early twenties) and the format of the responses, she is clearly of the 'twitter generation'. A sound grasp of modern popular music is not required to conclude that her youth and success suggests she likely has some measure of influence amongst consumers of that generation. Hence the response and hence its delivery - via Twitter, using her name.

      Which brings me to the second part of the answer to your question ("who cares?") - apparently Apple does.

      * - I was going to say "turkeys" but it didn't have the same ring.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Who the fuck is this "swift" person?

        I honestly had no idea. Definitely out of my demographic.

        The daughter (~30 YO who reads here, and sometimes comments) called. Her observation: "Lowest comment denominator pseudo-porn tinsel pop. Think early Madonna, but with far less talent".

        Out of curiosity, I wasted ten minutes of my life and watched a couple of her tunes, and concur. Worse, 'orrible auto-tune use in so-called "live" performances. Quite narsty, all in all. One wonders at the mindset of TheGreatUnwashed.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Jake is a boss codger

        'Nuff said.

  15. Alan Denman

    re "completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”

    Oh really ?

    The warranty on all their stuff only meets the minimum legislative requirement.

    1. dan1980

      Re: re "completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”

      @Alan

      While I am not suggesting that Ms Swift doesn't actually love Apple, a simple explanation is that butter makes things go a little smoother.

      They sure as fuck ain't generous - given their authoritarian control of sales they could EASILY enable far higher wages to be paid for those making the devices.

  16. Alan Denman

    Artist or Artists ?

    I only see the ambiguous use of the word 'Artist'.

    So, there is likely a Swift bit of money for Taylor but what about everyone else ?

    And how much ?

    1. dan1980

      Re: Artist or Artists ?

      @Alan

      I think that the extra money for Taylor Swift, while far more than others would get, is really negligible for her, considering how much her tours make.

      She is young and, despite being very savvy, it is not beyond the realms of the possible to believe that she is still idealistic and really does want to help young, aspiring artists.

      The issue is not just the money, however, it's the attitude. There is the idea that music somehow is free - that it should be able to be listened to without having to pay anyone. After all, I can open up Youtube and play a whole album if I like.

      As Andrew Orlowski has said in his recent article - the new boss is as bad as the old boss.

      And it's not difficult to see why - you make money from paying people less than they are worth so the bigger the gap, the higher the profit. Hard to have a bigger gap than just paying nothing and the ridiculous contracts that musicians are nearly forced to sign by these new masters are nothing short of exploitation.

      Welcome to the new world; do you like the curtains?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Who?

        dan 1980, I think you'll find Messrs Daltrey and Townsend said 'the new boss is as bad as the old boss' or words to that effect long before our esteemed El Reg Hack/Columnist Andrew O

  17. nsld

    Her sideline in the world of Infosec

    Is much more interesting than her music

    Have a look at @swiftonsecurity on twitter

  18. Sleep deprived
    Alert

    "...this historically progressive and generous company.”

    Or so we thought in 1989.

  19. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    What really happened

    Tim Cook: Ok, this could potentially be bad if all the artists "pull a Swift". What can we do about it?

    Accountants: Meh, just pay them. Give us five minutes of creative accounting and we'll actually turn a profit on this whole thing. Look here, I've already offset half the iPhone 6 sales for last quarter on the tax sheet. By tomorrow we'll have sucked them all dry and we can retire to the island volcano. Muahahahahaha!

    Tim Cook: That's ok, you've already done enough. We'll take it from here.

    Accountants: Yes Master.

    Eddy Cue: Uhh, cool. We'll spin up the PR machine now. [aside to Tim]You know, there are days when they just creep me out.

    Tim Cook: Don't sweat it it's a common problem with accountants, they always take the short view. Besides, we've got to keep the volcano a secret until Bird One is finished.

  20. Arachnoid

    Apple gets a Swift kick in the rear

    Good well done, now we just need to set her on a few Politicians and the economy would soon recover

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Apple gets a Swift kick in the rear

      Please, no, I beg of you. Do not ever sic a celeb on politics or politicians. Haven't you learned anything over the years? Sometimes they get carried away an become Governors and Presidents...

      1. Arachnoid

        Re: Apple gets a Swift kick in the rear

        Quite true on that point I think Bonzo would have done a better job

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