Taylor Swift and Apple: The backstory – according to the CEO of her record label

“Remember Taylor Swift’s ‘love letter’ to Apple? Well, here’s the back story, at least from the point of view of her record label,” Michal Lev-Ram reports for Fortune.

“Speaking at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen on Monday evening, record label executive Scott Borchetta — who discovered and signed Swift when she was only 14 years old — told the audience that the conversation actually started between him and Apple in the days preceding Swift’s letter,” Lev-Ram reports. “The iPhone maker was on the cusp of launching its new streaming music service, and had planned not to pay artists during an initial three-month period in which the service would be available free to consumers.”

“According to Borchetta, he hadn’t spoken to Swift earlier in the week, and was caught by surprise when she let him know about her letter,” Lev-Ram reports. “‘She literally texted me and said, ‘Don’t be mad,’ with the link,” Borchetta said. “She was in Europe. I responded and said, ‘You don’t have any idea how good your timing is right now.””

More blah, blah, blah here.

MacDailyNews Take: The backstory according to the CEO of her record label. For whatever that’s worth.

The record industry runs on PR. Never forget that.

As we wrote back in June:

Apple can now claim they did not plan any of this. They had deals in place to stream without paying for the trial period. So, there was no collusion here. They simply did the right thing, thanks to Taylor Swift.

If you think the dominant leader in paid music download sales made a mistake that had to be rectified thanks to Taylor Swift a week before launching a high profile music subscription service, we have an absolutely beautiful bridge for sale in Brooklyn, cheap!

Legality is one thing, PR is another.

What’re Spotify et al. going to do, whine that it’s unfair that Apple is paying the artists* and complain that they’ll have to pay them now, too? The other streaming music services will lose that argument with the artists and with the paying public. Spotify and the rest are between a rock and a hard place.

*in effect, Apple is actually paying the labels who then pay out some percentage of that to the artists.

Taylor Swift’s business plan outwits Apple executives or something – June 28, 2015
Apple and ‘boneheaded’ decisions – June 23, 2015
Metallica’s Lars Ulrich backs Apple Music after its Taylor Swift moment – June 23, 2015
How Taylor Swift became music’s most powerful voice – June 23, 2015
Apple Music to pay rights holders on a per-stream basis during three-month free trial – June 22, 2015
Taylor Swift wins streaming battle as Apple backs down on royalty payments – June 22, 2015
Apple responds to Taylor Swift, indie label complaints; will pay royalties during Apple Music 3-month free trial – June 22, 2015


  1. “… record industry runs on PR…” and there is only one commishionable star. So “of course” she wrote the letter. Just like all those athletes arrested for crimes write their published letters of apology. But there are many dumb people they count on.

    I just want to know why Taylor Swift can get any fans other than 14 year old girls. Because her 14 year old fans get to 16 and 17 are GONE. No one else cares Taylor other than them. No matter how many models you bring on stage. I imagine an iPhone naughty video in her future because her music is what it is.

    1. Wow, hate much justme12 ???

      If you do some research rather than just bitch from the basement, you would know that Swift is CEO of her own company and actually runs it. Does she have great help? of course but even that takes brains and talent.

      Just saying.

  2. “Scott Borchetta — who discovered and signed Swift when she was only 14 years old —”

    He “discovered” her when her father bought a share of the company and walked her into the offices and said, we are cutting a record.
    Jeez I hate these scumbags.

    1. Actually he did discover her at a new artist cafe in Nashville. However, Taylor had just come off a one year contract from Universal (or such) and decided that she would not be played along for 2-3 more years while the label sucked on her talent.
      She joined Big Machine even though it had not yet officially formed cause she trusted Scott.

  3. If only napster was still around then then no one would be getting paid! They should be thanking Apple for what they did in the past and making it easy to buy their music or we all would still be using Napster alternatives today and no one would be getting paid!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.