Taylor Swift: “Hey Apple, We Don’t Ask You for Free iPhones. Don’t Ask Us for Free Music.”

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Updated 6/22/15 1:00 AM PST: Apple has caved, saying Taylor Swift made them finally realize that they should pay for music.

French independents, German independents, and even Taylor Swift are pissed at Apple. Here’s an open letter from Taylor Swift to Apple, published today (Sunday, June 21st).


“To Apple, Love Taylor

I write this to explain why I’ll be holding back my album, 1989, from the new streaming service, Apple Music. I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries.

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. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management 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. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.

These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child. 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.

I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. 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.

Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.

But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this.

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


22 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    One of the many reasons Taylor Swift rules, right here.

    • Anonymous

      Cue’s explanation is the lamest ever:

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

      In other words:

      Without Taylor Swift, Apple would have screwed us all.

      Cue added that Ms. Swift was “very thankful and excited to see how QUICK we responded”.


      I’m not lying to you, that’s the word he used.

  2. Anonymous

    Apple has caved!

    Wow, way to go Taylor!!! Artist power, baby!!! Hot damn!!!

    • Anonymous

      +1. Here’s what Elvis Costello tweeted to Ms. Swift yesterday:

      “A word from our future President. Right on. You tell ’em, Girl. E.C.”

    • Anonymous

      Happened to me last November when she said:

      “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment [Spotify streaming] that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music.

      And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”

      If anybody’s saving the industry, it’s her.

      • Anonymous

        She was willing to release all her life’s work to Apple for $0 pay, minus 1989 which she won’t release to anyone for any pay.

  3. pbody

    A few questions:

    What are they paying?

    Will artists still sign knowing apple tried to screw them?

    Is 1989 going to be on apple music?

    Is this whole thing staged?

    • Anonymous

      “Will artists still sign knowing apple tried to screw them?”

      I don’t know about other guys, but I’ll never, ever touch Apple Music after this.

      Cook has finally shown us what the new Apple is like. And I don’t want any.

      • Anonymous

        Oh c’mon Eric Schmidt, everybody knows you never pay for music anyway.

      • Anonymous

        I’m not sure this was really a “win” – kind of feels like the whole thing was planned this way as a huge, free pr stunt.

  4. Esol Esek

    My support for Apple has been dwindling long before this:

    Dropping Shake
    Screwing up Final Cut Pro
    Screwing up Xcode
    Degrading the Mac Mini
    Releasing a poorly conceived Mac Pro
    Releasing a Macbook with no USB ports
    Some sketchy OS updates.
    Turning what was once a creative center into a mobile phone company.

    It’s lucky for mac its nearest competition is Windoze, and that it sucks so hard,
    although Windows 10 prob won’t suck, and A LOT of VSTs, VJ software,
    and a host of other creative moves are being made AWAY from APPLE.

    Tim Cook is in a bubble of his own self congratulation. Apple stinks.

  5. sgroovez

    What I find upsetting is that in her letter she says “..and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows”. She is basically saying that she doesn’t need royalty sales at all. So why even bother with the letter to Apple? Just play live! It’s how you make money now.

    • Anonymous

      Why? Check any major media news site today and you’ll see why. That letter just made her god-like in the eyes of millions. Standing up for what she believes in. Standing up for the little guys.

      Very convenient for her….

  6. Just Say No To Streaming

    Actually, she hasn’t agreed to put 1989 on Apple MUsic, because .00000x % is still nothing. So it’s not really a victory, recorded music is still dead until we kill the streams.

  7. Anonymous

    She should’ve ended with: “…we don’t ask you for free iPods.” since that’s what people use to listen to music, not iPhones.