Taylor Swift calls Spotify a ‘start-up with no cash flow’

“Taylor Swift’s recent missive to Apple — the one that caused the tech behemoth to reverse course, once again demonstrating her world-beating pop power—came after some late-night soul searching, the singer tells Vanity Fair writer Josh Duboff, in the magazine’s September cover story.

‘I wrote the letter at around four A.M.,’ Swift says. ‘The contracts had just gone out to my friends, and one of them sent me a screenshot of one of them. I read the term ‘zero percent compensation to rights holders.’ Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I’ll write a song and I can’t sleep until I finish it, and it was like that with the letter,'” Duboff reports. “Apple surprised Swift by almost immediately changing its plan not to compensate artists during the trial period of its new streaming service.”

MacDailyNews Take: The charade continues.

As we wrote on June 23rd:

Setting yourself up for oodles of free publicity just prior to a massive 100+ country worldwide launch, aligning yourself with a prominent, chart-topping, highly-popular artist, and, in the process, dooming your soon-to-be obliterated rivals to looking like non-paying cheapskates to both consumers and musicians was well worth expending a little political capital upfront in order to to prompt the requisite artist “outrage” (especially since you’ll rack up many times that in return with the “capitulation”).

If that’s “boneheaded,” we’d love to see what genius guerrilla marketing looks like (hint: you’re seeing it in action).

This wasn’t “boneheaded,” it was choreographed.

As we wrote on June 22nd:

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.

And as we also wrote earlier on June 22nd:

If this “conflict and resolution” was set up by Apple and Big Machine Records’ respective PR departments in order to gin up publicity for Apple Music’s launch (a little “manufactured controversy” never hurt anyone): Kudos! Excellent job to everyone involved!

This does seem a bit Iovinish: “We’ll get the biggest name in pop music to ‘object’ and then we’ll ‘come around’ and provide a feel good story that satisfies everyone just before launch. It’ll be great! Cute Taylor Swift takes on Apple all by herself and ‘wins’ and Apple is a great company that listens! It’s a win-win for everyone.”

After all, the music industry, from whence Jimmy Iovine sprang, is all about promotion and Apple has enough money to run these services at a billion-dollar loss for several hundred years (no exaggeration) so it’s pretty inconceivable that the actual proposal would be to not compensate the artists during the three-month trial period. The fact is that every major and most minor music label had already signed on the dotted line before this “controversy” erupted.

So, will Apple Music now have Swift’s “1989” tracks among the its catalog of over 30 million songs? Exclusively, of course? Or, is that the cherry on top, the “news” that comes even closer to, or just after, Apple Music’s June 30th launch in order to guarantee another round of free publicity for the service (and Swift)? If so, kudos for that flourish, too!

Three days later: Taylor Swift ‘happily’ decided to include ‘1989’ album on Apple Music.

Duboff reports. “Says Swift, ‘Apple treated me like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about,’ she says. ‘And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Smirk.

Taylor Swift ‘happily’ decides to include ‘1989’ album on Apple Music – June 25, 2015
Apple Music signs 20,000 labels and distributors worldwide – June 24, 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. Apple is falling apart.. says the anal..yst. Yet its only been a few days and the only change is oil prices are dropping. So how is this Apples fault. The whole market is down…

    OH wait, you cannot manipulate the market by talking about other companies. Only Apple BS has the power to move the entire market… LOL Just so much BS, its not funny.

    Just saying.

  2. “Choreographed” is not what I believe these days, statistically speaking.

    Apple is good at supply chain, where Apple Music has one foot.

    But the other foot is marketing and user relations. Apple is uneven there.

    My 2 cents.

  3. Enough of the Taylor Swift pandering of Apple Music. AM’s UI and overall approach still leaves a lot to be desired. Can’t imagine SJ would have been happy with AM in its present state.

  4. You can tell Swift and Metallica et al are getting paid a nicer sum from AppleIovineMusic because they’re now actually talking-up iTunes/IovineAppleMusic instead of ragging it. These same artists were once (not to long ago) claiming that Apple/iTunes were ruining the whole industry–but now toss them a bone and Voila! there ALL ABOUT IT. Fscking hypocrites..

  5. Hey Taylor, you have a website, sell your songs there. Apple doesn’t need you. Greedy as Metallica, Def Leppard, Beatles, AC/DC… I hate greedy people.

  6. Yes the just a few weeks later she shows up in a video from her Boston show telling the crowed how her gusest band isn’t getting paid to preform with her. Can you say hippocrat? But Taylor I thought artists especially the newer ones need to be paid.

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