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Apple Will Pay Rights Holders During Free Trial of Apple Music

Following yesterday’s blog post by Taylor Swift on the free trial of Apple Music, Apple has announced they’ll pay rights holders on a per-stream basis during the three months of free trial of the service.

Peter Kafka spoke with Eddy Cue on the phone, who told him this is a decision he reached with CEO Tim Cook earlier today after Swift’s Tumblr post. Apple will be paying artists during the free trial at a different rate:

Cue says Apple will pay rights holders for the entire three months of the trial period. It can’t be at the same rate that Apple is paying them after free users become subscribers, since Apple is paying out a percentage of revenues once subscribers start paying. Instead, he says, Apple will pay rights holders on a per-stream basis, which he won’t disclose.

As I argued yesterday:

Apple’s terms for the free trial are controversial and I wonder if they could handle this differently. It’s not like Apple doesn’t have the resources to offer a free trial for users and make it up to artists on their own. I think Swift makes a solid argument here.

Good on Apple for reaching a compromise, even if it took the blog post from an influential artist to make this change. Due to the way the music industry is structured, Apple won’t be paying artists directly – but it’s still something and it doesn’t mean free music will be given away by Apple for three months just to promote usage of their service.