Within hours of pop diva Taylor Swift’s post on microblogging platform Tumblr—To Apple, Love Taylor—the wealthiest company on the planet reversed its payment policy on Apple Music, the streaming music service it is launching on June 30. The service was being offered free to subscribers for three months, but Apple was not paying writers, producers or artists for the period. While Swift went public swiftly, other artistes such as indie labels Beggars Group too had opposed the move. But such is the power of Swift; in her open letter she stated bluntly—three months is a long time to remain unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. As if that was not enough, she twisted the dagger as she ended her open letter saying—we don’t ask you for free iPhones, please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.
In a digital media age, Swift has managed to do something that no other musician has done with such elan—take on Apple. But the jury is out on her success. While Apple has agreed to pay, there is no clarity yet on what it will pay. Also, the biggest gainer due to Swift’s open letter is Apple Music, that has got greater visibility than it would have got otherwise, without spending a dollar.