After a Tumblr post by Taylor Swift ignited a debate about artist remunerations and who pays—and gets paid—for free trials, Apple's Eddy Cue took to Twitter to respond.
The post by Taylor Swift, which followed some indie unrest, challenged Apple Music's intentions to offer a free ninety day trial, which would not pay for the content it was streaming during that trial.
Cue started off by stating Apple's positing on artist re-imbursements in general:
Followed up by saying Apple Music will be picking up the tab for the free trial period:
#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer's free trial period— Eddy Cue (@cue) June 22, 2015
And then reached out directly to Taylor Swift:
We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple— Eddy Cue (@cue) June 22, 2015
By "artists", I'm assuming Apple Music will be paying the music industry, including the labels, from which artists, producers, writers, and any and all other stake-holders will also get whatever cut is dictated by their deals.
Swift's post undoubtedly sent ripples through Apple, which was and is set to launch Apple Music in just over a week. For this to have happened so quickly, however, and for Eddy Cue to announce it in a series of Tweets, shows an unusual level of responsiveness and social engagement from Apple.
It also shows Apple's belief in the necessity of the ninety day trial period. The company would rather foot the bill for the whole thing than consider shortening it or exploring other options.
Update: Peter Kafka got a chance to speak to Eddy Cue following the announcement and offered additional details, including that pre-subscription rates will be different (and presumably lower) than post-subscription revenue sharing, and that Cue informed Swift of the news earlier. From re/code:
Cue says that Swift's letter, coupled with complaints from other artists, did prompt the change. He said he discussed it with Apple CEO Tim Cook today. "It's something we worked on together. Ultimately we both wanted to make the change."