Apple Listens When Taylor Swift Blogs
Apple, Inc. announced that Apple Music will be available in 100 countries starting June 30. There will be no free-tier option, but there will be a three month free trial, after which a monthly charge will occur to use the streaming service. This sounds like news, but not big news. Streaming music services have been around. Spotify, Google Play and others have all been doing so. And with this increase in streaming, royalty payments have been decreasing. Unsurprisingly, musicians have been struggling with this decrease royalty payments. At least one estimate for per-stream payouts from an independent label show very small percentages of a cent being paid per song. Spotify is proud to state that it has been “growing revenues for artists and labels in every country where we operate, and have now paid out over $2 Billion USD in royalties to-date.” However, artists remain concerned that they are not receiving payment for their art and copyrights.
Apple claimed that over 70% percent of the revenue from the service will be paid out in royalties. However, it announced that labels and music publishers would not be paid during the three-month trial that users would get for free. As you can imagine, many artists and record labels were upset. Enter Taylor Swift. She has battled streaming services before when she pulled her music from Spotify. This time, she wrote to Apple on her Tumblr page in a post titled “To Apple, Love Taylor”. Ms. Swift pointed out that three months of no royalties means quite a bit of money will not be received by artists for work they created and hope to sell. And this affects not just the singers or bands, but producers and songwriters as well. She very nicely lodged her complaint, and Apple listened. Apple reversed its decision and will now pay royalties for the entire term, but perhaps at lower rates. Therefore, the battle between artists and streaming services are likely to continue as copyrights and how to value and pay for artistss contributions continue to be in the news.
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