Apple had ignored record label executives' pleas for artist compensation during the three-month Apple Music trial until Taylor Swift got involved, the head of the singer’s record label has revealed.
Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Records says he was making zero headway in talks with Apple over royalty payments, until Swift’s open letter to the company changed the game completely.
Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2015 conference (via MacRumors), Borchetta said he told Apple: “‘I can’t support this, you need to pay us from the first stream. Those conversations led up to the weekend where Taylor posted the blog.”
"She literally texted me and said, 'Don't be mad', with the link [to the letter]. She was in Europe. I responded and said, 'You don't have any idea how good your timing is right now.'"
Almost immediately after the singer hit out at Apple’s desire for artists to foot the bill, the company changed tact and announced it would indeed be paying out royalties during the trial period for its new streaming service.
Borchetta says he had a conference call the following day with Apple Music big-hitters Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine, where Swift’s demands were met.
The policy reversal led to Swift offering her most recent album 1989 on Apple Music, while it proved an ice breaker that saw Apple reach deals with indie labels that were holding out ahead of the launch on 30 June.
In her Tumblr post entitled To Apple, Love Taylor, Swift said she found Apple's decision to stiff artists during the trial period "shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company."
She said the protest wasn't about her, but "about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs."