... I meant to post this a couple days ago.
There's something a little funny about the whole Taylor Swift calling out Apple Music and their initial "3 months not paying artists for using their music to promote Apple's new Apple Music free for the first 3 months" thing.
It's the timing of it... since not long ago many were applauding Taylor for calling out Spotify on low royalty payments... resulting in Taylor pulling her new album from Spotify.
... to be honest though, I don't feel it was actually Taylor Swift calling out Spotify, but her handlers. I imagine they all have handlers since there's too much to stay on top of, especially if you're at the top of your game in the pop world.
So back to Apple Music, considering the Apple we know was basically founded on decimating the music industry (the iPod -> good bye physical sales) and they have an estimated $165+ billion in cash (<-- $$$... as in money under their mattress), it seems odd they'd backpedal on their decision to not pay artists during the initial (3 months free) offering of Apple Music to the public.
Not because they're cheap... but because they can do what they want... and because they could justify it. Income splitting is easy when income is $0.
(... since hey... Apple Music isn't getting paid so to be fair, I guess the artists shouldn't either!)
Corporations (for the most part) do what they want... unless public backlash is so great, they absolutely have to go into damage control. Apple acquired Beats Music just over a year ago, so this plan (of Apple Music in general) has been forming for probably over a year now... at least.
Big companies rarely stray from their plan... and the Apple Steve Jobs built thinks ahead of the curve and does what it wants, right?
The response Apple Music initially experienced revealing it's "3-months free and not paying artists" wasn't great, but we all would've forgotten about it soon after we start using it... and potentially loving it.
Think about it... it's pretty obvious the general public (aka average consumer) doesn't care too much what happens upstream or downstream if at the end of the day, they feel like they get more and pay less. It's been pretty obvious since the iPod came out physical/album sales have gone down, it's pretty obvious why, and it's pretty obvious most people turned a blind eye to what was happening. The industry has been forced to adapt and struggled along the way. I believe there's light at the end of the tunnel... but it's been rough for many mid-level artists.
... and lower-level artists... if only you could exchange Facebook likes and YouTube views for groceries and gas!
... back to Apple Music though, it's in a position where it can do what it wants. Taylor Swift is finally on record (it's really hard to not make puns btw) that she doesn't make her money from album sales but from live performances... so what does she care?
Well... it raises her profile and apparent power in the music industry even more if she can snap her fingers calling out a huge company like Apple (again, with $165+ Billion in their wallet) and they obey.
People won't see (or remember) Apple Music changing their policy, they'll see and remember Taylor Swift standing up for musicians/artist rights and royalties. It's a win/win for both... and it wouldn't surprise me if someone digs up dirt on it being part of the plan between the two.
... which brings up another initial thought I had, and glad to see a few other people have written articles about it.
... anybody remember Lars' lawsuit against Napster?
I'm a firm believer it's not what you say, it's who says it. Sometimes I wonder what state the music industry would be in if it wasn't Lars... no offence Lars.
P.S. Also worth factoring in Apple's botched publicity/PR stunt with U2 recently (Songs Of The Innocence). I think public backlash was pretty crazy considering Bono considered it "a gift". I was shocked more people weren't freaking out about the fact something showed up on their phone/iTunes they didn't approve... and how much other stuff is on their phone running in the background they don't even know about.
With Apple Music, I think we'll have access to everything, at all times, potentially for "free". It'll be stored in the cloud, but accessible at all times. So you'll still have that U2 album in a way.
P.P.S. I like a lot of things about Apple Music in case you were wondering.
Lars Ulrich vs Napster (video/interview): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r6wn47_Vqs
Mike Langford - Official Blog
Being on both sides of the glass, I get the chance to wear many hats in the music industry. This is a place to share my thoughts, views, predictions, rants, stories and news!