Photo: Sky News
Never shy about detailing the bad blood between her and music streaming services, America’s favorite ruby-lipped pop singer is at it again.
In the September issue of Vanity Fair, Taylor Swift tells writer Josh Duboff what inspired her to write that now-famous breakup letter to Apple — in which she criticized the company for not paying artists royalties during the free three-month trial of Apple Music.
Photo: courtesy of Vanity Fair
“I wrote the letter at around 4 a.m.,” Swift said. “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.”
After getting negative feedback for an op-ed she wrote about the music streaming industry in the Wall Street Journal last summer, Swift said she was worried her protest wouldn’t be well received.
“My fears were that I would be looked at as someone who just whines and rants about this thing that no one else is really ranting about.”
So before pressing the Post button on Tumblr, she asked her mother to look over the letter; Mom encouraged her to publish it.
Of course, you know what happened then. Apple surprised tech enthusiasts and Swifties alike by responding the same day, declaring that it would in fact pay artists for songs played during the free trial period (something that Spotify already did). Swift was quickly hailed as a champion for indie artists. She eventually decided to put her entire discography on Apple Music.
“Apple treated me like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about,” she said. “And I found it really ironic that the multibillion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the startup with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine.”
That last comment is a swipe at Spotify, the music streaming service that Swift publicly broke up with last November. She removed her entire music catalog from it because she “didn’t want to dedicate my life’s work to an experiment.” CEO Daniel Ek responded by explaining that Swift was on track to make $6 million in royalties from her contract with the company.
“They talk about me a lot,” she told Vanity Fair.
I’m sure they do, Taylor. I’m sure they do.