Over the last week or so, there’s been a pretty constant stream of news regarding Apple Music. Specifically, the thoughts and feelings regarding Apple Music from artists, labels, and just about anyone caught up in that mix. The reason? Apple’s free trial for their upcoming music streaming service. A lot of those aforementioned artists and labels weren’t all that excited about Apple’s idea on how to make Apple Music catch on.
Because let’s face it, a three month long free trial for any service is certainly worthwhile, and for anyone that’s using an iOS-based device (and eventually an Android-based device), trying Apple Music out for free for three months might be too good to ignore.
When Apple Music was introduced earlier this month, I wasn’t necessarily blown away by the content therein. Sure, Beats 1 radio is pretty cool, especially with the fact that actual human beings play more of a role than computers when picking music, but I’ll probably not use it all that often. Pandora, for what it’s worth, has always been pretty great, even with its algorithms, but I eventually moved away from radio services.
And then there’s Connect, which aims to connect artists with their fans in a new way, all from a single service. It’s an interesting idea, but one hopes it’s not automatically going to be a new Ping and just fade away long before it ever has a real chance at taking off.
I keep trying different music streaming services, because I don’t think any one of them is perfect just yet. As I’ve noted in the past, I usually switch between Rdio and Spotify, each one of the service’s strengths convincing me to switch over from time to time. Or, more frequently, one service’s annoyances making me consider the other.
I’m at that stage right now with Spotify. I’ve been using it for several months now, but with the last two major updates I feel like the music playback is more frustrating than ever before. I’ve got a playlist that has thousands of songs in it, because I’ve downloaded the tracks onto my device for offline listening (I don’t like streaming, as service where I live isn’t the best). Unfortunately, while hitting the shuffle all option, I never feel like I’m actually digging into that playlists’s content. I hear the same songs over and over again, and it’s starting to drive me crazy.
So, Apple Music was on the horizon and I was looking forward to trying it.
Then those aforementioned news articles started showing up. Labels and artists, especially indies, began making it known that Apple’s three month free trial meant they weren’t getting paid for three months. Apple’s reasoning behind this seemed to be that they were paying a bit more than the industry standard for their service, but three months is a long time.
An artist shouldn’t be expected to go any length of time without getting paid for people enjoying what they create, and yet Apple wanted them to go one quarter of a year without getting paid from people listening to their music through Apple’s streaming service.
With that in mind, I planned on panning Apple and just flat-out refusing to use the company’s music streaming service, despite my desire to utilize another Apple service. This is a company that, undoubtedly, understands how important it is to get paid for the things someone creates. After all, Apple creates things, and people pay for them.
The artist Taylor Swift pointed this out in her Tumblr post on Sunday, telling Apple that the company doesn’t give iPhones away for free, so the company shouldn’t expect artists to do the same thing. This is exactly what other indie labels and artists, and other musicians have been saying ever since the three trial’s details were revealed, but when Taylor Swift weighs in, well, apparently even Apple has to react.
And they did. Late on Sunday evening, Apple confirmed they’ll be paying artists in a per-stream basis during the free 3 month trial. Apple’s Eddy Cue said that the company “hears” Taylor Swift, and, due to the artist’s public letter, the company changed their minds on paying during that trial period.
And that’s why I’m going to use Apple Music once it launches on June 30. I’ll be the first to tell everyone that Apple’s initial strategy with the trial period was atrocious, and I think it’s genuinely awful that anyone at Apple thought it was a good idea to begin with. But, they changed their mind. They saw the error in their ways, even if they had to be shown it to them by one of the world’s most popular artists.
Better late than never.