Taylor Swift puts 1989 on Apple Music, but trial streaming payment is a shocker
Casting her shadow: Taylor Swift performing in Amsterdam last week. Photo: Getty-Images
Saintly pop princess Taylor Swift - who was cast as a kind of global champion for independent musicians this week - has relented and allowed Apple Music to stock her megahit album 1989 after the new streaming service backed down on an earlier policy of not paying artists during the trial. No surprises there.
But what will Apple actually pay those artists? Will it be better than Spotify, the service Swift berated last year and refused to deal with?
According to an American music industry website, the rate Apple will actually pay artists is shockingly low: as little as $0.002 per stream. Digital Music News says that means you'd have to play an artist five times to earn them one cent - that is estimated to be roughly one third of what Spotify pays.
In announcing her decision on social media Swift denied she had secured "some exclusive deal like you've seen Apple do with other artists".
"This is simply the first time it's felt right in my gut to stream my album. Thank you, Apple, for your change of heart."
So why would Swift accept less from Apple Music than she could get from Spotify?
We'll never know but what's a fact is that Swift, who is currently touring the United Kingdom (with Australian Vance Joy supporting), emerged from the scrap with an even better reputation - if that was possible for one of the planet's most popular stars.
Apple emerged with Swift's seal of approval - and a relatively small bill for streaming during its three month trial period, which will probably be paid for many times over by the burst of new subscribers it is likely to capture after the blaze
of publicity. Apple Music launches on June 30.
The whole brouhaha has ended up a win: win deal for both parties.
More and more consumers accept streaming as the way to hear music today. According to Digital Music News, music streaming revenue surpassed US$1 billion in 2014 and is rapidly growing as new services launch; Google Play and Apple Music are now taking on established services such as Spotify, Pandora and Deezer. The troubling paradox is that while streaming grows more profitable, what the artist is paid for their music seems extremely low.
Elsewhere it has also emerged Apple is under investigation in the United States for possible antitrust violations. The attorneys general of Connecticut and New York are asking for evidence of collusion between Apple and major music labels that might have undermined free music services, such as Spotify and YouTube. It is not known if Swift was aware of this alleged pressure.
Whether or not independent artists won much from Apple's popular decision to pay artists during the services three-month trial period looks debatable. But a New York electronic act has found a way to boost artists' pay-outs by increasing the number of streams they receive.
Ohm & Sport created Eternify. an app that allows users to perpetually stream an artist's music - thereby generating the basis for streaming revenue. To qualify as a stream a song must be played online for at least 30 seconds. Eternify loops an artist's songs every 30 seconds.
After the events of this week, I've decided to put 1989 on Apple Music. and happily so.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 25, 2015
In case you're wondering if this is some exclusive deal like you've seen Apple do with other artists, it's not.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 25, 2015Source: m.smh.com.au