Tuesday 23 June 2015

Taylor Forces Apple To Listen

Apple is not a company famed for listening. After all, it prides itself on knowing what consumers want before they do, so why should it care what they think? All the more surprising then, that it should have listened to one angry customer, a Ms T Swift of Beverly Hills, California.
It helped, of course, that Taylor Swift is probably the biggest name in the recording industry right now. But her more in sorrow than anger Tumblr post about Apple's "shocking, disappointing" plan to pay artists nothing for the first three months of its Apple Music service certainly had an instant impact.

Within hours Apple's Eddy Cue - he of the rather embarrassing dad-dancing sequence at the launch of Apple Music - had reversed the policy. And even more surprisingly, this executive at a company which has until recently been very shy about using social media took to Twitter to do it.

"#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer's free trial period" said @cue in only the 81st Tweet he had ever sent.(Presumably more than one artist will benefit.) Warming to his theme he fired out his 82nd: "We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple".

Now, cynics may say that Apple listened to Taylor Swift, after ignoring the plight of thousands of those indie artists. They had been making a fuss ever since it emerged that during the three-month free trial period of Apple Music they would get nothing.

For Ms Swift - as she acknowledged in her Tumblr post - this was going to be only a minor inconvenience. But for less well-known artists and their labels, there was the prospect of all their revenue just drying up quite suddenly on 30 June when Apple Music launches. After all, 800 million people have iTunes accounts and must be quite likely to at least try this new service for three months - and while they do, they are unlikely to spend much on downloads or other ways of consuming music.

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