Taylor Swift is receiving more controversy for her open letter to Apple. On Sunday, the 22-year-old pop star took to her Tumblr blog to explain Apple’s free streaming policy on its upcoming music service, Apple Music. Swift explained that the tech giant didn’t intend to pay artists during the three month free trial given to customers. Now that Apple has suddenly changed its tune, conspiracy theorists are wondering if Swift’s open letter was a publicity stunt.
Many users took to Twitter to share their thoughts on Taylor Swift’s open letter to Apple. Some believe that her letter and Apple’s “swift” decision was a publicity stunt for both the singer and Apple Music.
The Taylor Swift/Apple Music scuffle is but a publicity stunt by Taylor and her PR team of cronies.
— Craig (@blitzcraig) June 23, 2015
As much as I’d like to believe that Taylor Swift took on the biggest company in the world on behalf of Indy bands… It’s a publicity stunt.
— Guy Williams (@guywilliamsguy) June 23, 2015
— Damien Shiells (@DamienShiells) June 23, 2015
Ok, guys – lets chill over Taylor Swift, it was clearly a publicity stunt.
— Matthew Cane (@matticane) June 23, 2015
This Taylor Swift thing just be publicity stunt
— frederick. (@eMCiiflames) June 23, 2015
— Joshy (@MrJoshyS) June 23, 2015
Amazing publicity stunt by Apple feat. Taylor Swift
— Sophie Glendenning (@glendenning95) June 23, 2015
i cant at taylor swifts and apples stupid publicity stunt and people actually buying it as taylor swift changing the music industry
— chrstn (@venusasaboy_) June 23, 2015
— Alchemedia (@alchemedia) June 23, 2015
What if the whole Taylor Swift / Apple thing was just a joint publicity stunt for 1989 / Apple Music? #swiftgate
— Benjamin Listwon (@benjaminlistwon) June 23, 2015
— Murád (@MuradSays) June 23, 2015
Hats off to Apple and @taylorswift13 for a brilliant publicity stunt. I’m convinced that whole ordeal was planned. Both parties win
— Josh Rizer (@oranJish) June 23, 2015
— Jatin Bhagnani (@jatinbhagnani) June 23, 2015
Why do conspiracy theorists believe it’s a publicity stunt? Swift not only made it aware of the fact that Apple Music will be offering a free trial, but the end result made Swift and Apple look good in the public’s eyes. Swift was applauded for her “victorious” and “courageous letter.” She’s also still seen as “America’s Sweetheart,” as Apple retains to keep its customers happy by changing its policy.
Twitter followers also think that Taylor Swift was handsomely paid to write her “open letter” to Apple. Meanwhile, there’s an investigation involving Apple and music labels, according to a report in the New York Times. Investigators are currently finding out if Apple is “pressuring” music labels to remove their catalog from free streaming services like Spotify. So, the conspiracy theorists could be onto something here. But nothing has been confirmed until the investigation comes to a close.
It looks like Taylor Swift vs. Apple won’t come to an end anytime soon, though. A statement on the WSJ suggests that Swift’s open letter could turn into a “PR nightmare” rather than an elaborate publicity stunt. It was previously assumed that Apple would pay artists and publishers the 71.5 percent royalty rate when Apple Music launches on June 30. Well, it turns out that the royalty rate will be much lower during the free trial.
“Apple declined to say how much it plans to pay during the trial period, though it said the rate will increase once customers start paying for subscriptions. In the first three months of the service’s life there will be no subscriber royalty rate on which to base the rates. The company could find other ways to calculate a rate and is expected to share its plans with music companies soon. Apple risks raising the ire of Ms. Swift and others if it comes in with what would appear to be a lowball offer.”
That means Apple could be paying artists 35.75 percent during the free trial. That would closely resemble Spotify’s term for its own promotional periods, which pays artists 35 percent. Thereafter, Spotify then pays artists 70 percent. Apple won’t pay artists 71.5 percent until Apple Music has paying customers.
Apple has yet to comment about this new issue. What are your thoughts on Taylor Swift’s open letter? Do you think it was a publicity stunt? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.
[Image: Sascha Schuermann / Getty Images for TAS]