Taylor Swift’s Letter to Apple Was Written Without Her Label’s Approval
Taylor Swift made headlines when she publicly criticized Apple Music for -- and helped convince the company to change -- their plan to not pay writers, producers and artists during new users' three-month free trial. Swift's open letter was a gutsy move, even moreso because the country-turned-pop superstar penned and posted her open letter without the knowledge, backing or approval of her label, Big Machine.
During an onstage interview at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, Big Machine Label Group head Scott Borchetta revealed that although he may not have known about Swift's note, he and other label executives had already been voicing their displeasure with the decision as well.
“The conversation started with myself and the executives of Apple, just as a label group conversation of ‘I can’t support this: You need to pay us from the first stream,’” Borchetta said (quote via Diffuser.fm). “And those conversations were leading up to the weekend where Taylor posted the blog.
"She and I hadn’t spoken that week, so she literally texted me, [and] she said, ‘Don’t be mad,’ with the link," Borchetta recalls. "… I said, ‘You don’t have any idea how good your timing is right now …'"
As part of her open letter, the 25-year-old Swift wrote, “This is not about me … These are not the complains of a spoiled, petulant child ... [This is] about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt,” and noted that her comments “are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly.”
Within a few hours, Apple changed their policy and admitted that Swift's words were taken into account when reversing their decision.
“When I woke up this morning and read Taylor’s note, it really solidified that we need to make a change,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, said. “I did let her know that we heard her concerns and made the change.”
While Borchetta may not have given prior approval of Swift's actions, he says that he is proud of her.
“Everyone was fighting that fight," he says. "There was a huge fight going on behind the scenes. I think that Taylor pushed it over the edge."
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