Graham: Apple has major clean-up work to do for Apple Music – USA TODAY
Taylor Swift is right: We shouldn’t be holding benefits for Apple.
The tech giant is about to launch a new $9.99 monthly music subscription service, Apple Music, on June 30, and to get folks to try it out, Apple will offer free three-month trial subscriptions.
At the same time, Apple has told musicians it won’t pay royalties during this period because no money is coming in.
Swift, arguably the biggest pop star today, and who famously took on industry giant Spotify last year in a royalty dispute is even more eloquent this time, writing on her Tumblr page: “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
Apple already has the top music site in the world, iTunes. And with nearly $200 billion in cash in the bank, if it wanted to Apple could spend heavily to get all the world’s top musicians in its corner and make the new music service a success.
Instead, it’s being shortsighted and enraging the artists they need to build a successful alternative to Spotify and Pandora.
Anton Newcombe from the band the Brian Jonestown Massacre tweeted that when he balked at offering his music for free for three months, Apple said it would take his music off iTunes. In response, Apple told Rolling Stone magazine that Newcombe’s tweets weren’t true â his music would stay on iTunes.
And Sunday night, Apple Music chief Eddy Cue took to Twitter to answer Swift, insisting that Apple would pay artists during the free trial.
Either way, musicians are hopping mad about the terms they’ve seen in the contracts.
In a recent AP interview, veteran singer/songwriter James Taylor said he was upset about the general lack of dollars being generated by music streaming. Instead of pennies on the dollar in return, “for every dollar they bring in, they should be giving 50 cents to the people who actually recorded the music,” he said.
With Apple Music, Apple is hoping that we’ll switch from the on-demand ease of Spotify and computer-generated curated radio of Pandora to a new service that offers both, with better selection. “Our dedicated team of experts is here to help you find new music to love,” Apple says on its website.
But you won’t find Taylor Swift or the Beatles on-demand. Not at the beginning anyway. Apple has some clean-up work to do over the next few days.