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Apple changes royalties policy after Taylor Swift’s criticism on Tumblr

Following public criticism from Taylor Swift, speaking it seems on behalf of the entire music industry, Apple has changed its proposed royalties policy for Apple Music and will now pay labels during the three-month free trial it will be offering come June 30.

Apple Music, the upcoming streaming service to rival the likes of Spotify and Pandora, is set to kick off with a huge three month free trial for customers. We previously reported that Apple were not planning to pay any royalties during this time, essentially asking artists to license their music for free for a full quarter of the year. This policy started to get some bad press, with concern that artists with singles or albums due for release over the Summer would be unfairly penalized just to help Apple acquire more customers.

Swift, one of the best-selling artists in the world right now, posted an open letter to Apple on her Tumblr stream to address the issue. Though full of praise for the “historically progressive and generous company,” she says that its decision not to pay royalties during the first three months of the service is “shocking” and “disappointing.” This echoes the sentiments of many in the music industry – in particular independent and up-and-coming musicians who will be relying on the payments from streaming services.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said before that unlike many other companies, when it has made a mistake Apple has “the courage to admit it and correct it.” That seems to be what’s happening here, as Apple’s Eddy Cue took to Twitter to perform a public U-turn on their royalties policy.

Whether or not the change in policy means that Swift will allow last year’s hit album 1989 to stream on Apple Music remains to be seen, but it should certainly open the gates for warmer relations between artists and Apple. It could be the first step toward a more comprehensive streaming catalog.

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