Last week, it was discovered that artists who allow their music to be played on Apple Music will not receive any royalties during the three-month free trial period for users. Many artists have come out to say they will not will be participating with Apple Music because of this reason. Taylor Swift wrote a note on her Tumblr blog to Apple explaining that their no-royalty policy can be detrimental to indie artists who work paycheck-to-paycheck until they become popular.
After this note came out, a controversy started and Apple was in the spotlight for not paying artists for the right to use their music during the free trial. Eddy Cue, an Apple executive, responded to Taylor Swift’s note on Twitter saying that they have reconsidered the no-royalty plan and have decided that “Apple Music will pay artist for streaming even during customer’s free trial period.” It is good to hear that Apple has decided to pay artists, but they didn’t specify as to how much they will pay out.
An article in the Wall Street Journal reported Apple has yet to disclose the royalty rate they will be paying out during the free trial period, only mentioning that Apple will raise it once the trial ends. The normal rate is 71.5%, which is higher than industry leaders like Spotify, but this probably will not be the rate that is paid out during the free trial. The WSJ theorized that Apple could mirror Spotify’s promotional rate of half their normal rate, which would be 35.75% for Apple.
Whatever Apple decides to do, they need to make sure they don’t come in with lowball offer or else this will turn into a PR nightmare.