Taylor Swift isn’t just a pop icon, a Grammy winner, and a crazily talented guitarist. She is, according to David Lowery of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, “the most powerful person in the music industry.” Lowery might be completely right.
Last week, it was announced that Swift would not make her most recent album, 1989, available for streaming on Apple Music. Spotify, another music streaming service, doesn’t have even a note of Swift’s musical catalogue. Some listeners complained, but Swift wouldn’t back down from her business smarts and artistic integrity. She wrote a rather powerful letter to her fans via Tumblr, where she explained she couldn’t get behind Apple and Spotify because they don’t pay the featured artists for their music.
But here’s the cool thing about Swift. We know she sells millions of records and does extremely well for herself, even in an era where CD sales are taking a major hit. Swift, however, doesn’t care about making money for herself. She’s looking out for those new artists who are looking to make a break and really need the money. Essentially, Swift is the human equivalent of a sunbeam in May.
Swift’s letter went out early Sunday morning. By Sunday night, Apple announced that it would give royalties to featured artists during the user’s three-month free trial. Eddy Cue, an Apple executive, claimed he called Swift to personally deliver the news.
Cue also claimed that while Apple’s decision had a lot to do with record labels, but the decision was made, largely, because Swift shamed the company for skimping on artists. Other artists have complained about Apple’s previous policy, but none of them were quite as effective or as powerful as Swift.
Apple Music will be available for users on June 30.