La Roux, Billy Bragg, Chuck D and other music stars react to Apple royalties U-turn

Apple agrees to pay artists during three-month free trial following Taylor Swift's criticism

Stars from the music world have reacted to the news that Apple Music have made a U-turn on their policy of not paying musicians, producers, songwriters or rights holders during the three-month free trial of their upcoming streaming service.

The previously-announced policy proved a controversial one, most recently attracting criticism from Taylor Swift. Now, however, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue has confirmed that the tech giants will be compensating artists during the trial period, publishing a series of tweets in which he cited Swift’s criticism as a key factor in his decision.

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Taking to Twitter following the news, the likes of Swim Deep, Scroobius Pip, Django Django, Chuck D and more applauding Swift’s efforts, while Billy Bragg wrote: “Artists should own their work like Taylor Swift does to ensure that the rights of creators trump the might of corporations.”

La Roux, meanwhile, claim that Apple “knew what you were trying on and you tested the reaction”, before stating that she “hopes the indies and others still hold out on principle”.

See the reaction in tweets below.

On Saturday (June 20), a spokesperson for the pop star confirmed that her album ‘1989’ would not appear on the service when it launches on June 30. Swift later wrote an open letter to Apple criticising their new streaming service, calling it “unfair” and “disappointing”.

Swift explained this decision in an open letter to Apple Music, titled ‘To Apple, Love Taylor’ published on her Tumblr page on Sunday (June 21).


“I write this to explain why I’ll be holding back my album, 1989, from the new streaming service, Apple Music,” Swift began. “I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”

Swift went on to explain that though she is in a position where those three months will not affect her ability to make a living, the decision not to pay artists for three months is incredibly damaging to new and emerging acts. “This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is 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.”

Explaining that her thoughts are echoed by artists, writers and producers in her social circle “afraid to speak up publicly” due to their admiration and respect for the company, she continued: “Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.”

“We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation,” she concluded.

Swift removed the entirety of her back catalogue off Spotify last year.

Taylor Swift headlines London’s Hyde Park on June 27. Swift will appear at the British Summer Time Festival on a bill which also includes performances from Ellie Goulding and John Newman.