back to article Even Apple doesn’t mess with Taylor Swift

Tech oligarchs aren’t supposed to say sorry. And no, Apple hasn’t formally apologized to the music community for demanding that it works for Apple for free, Apple still comes out of it with plenty of credit. Ten days ago, the contracts for Apple’s new Spotify-ish streaming service leaked out, and they contained an …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Graham Marsden

      "the world’s biggest pop star"


      1. Neil 51

        Re: "the world’s biggest pop star"

        You know, admitting you've heard of someone doesn't mean you're admitting to liking them or knowing any of their songs, just that you don't live under a rock. Or are you just alpha nerding:

  2. James 51

    It appears you forgot the <sarcasm> <sarcasm/>

    'Today everyone’s talking about Apple’s flexibility, rather than its vast market power. It appears that Apple values the music makers – who generate the real demand for the “content services” that technology companies provide – as human beings. Not a unit item to be pared to as close to zero as possible.'

    Appears is the right word.

    Am I the only one who prefers to have the CD or DRM free files stored locally?

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: It appears you forgot the <sarcasm> <sarcasm/>

      CDs locally ripped for me, every time. I don't even consider buying streamed music. That said, my life doesn't revolve around music; you could probably put my entire collection in a quarter terabyte.

      Which is not to say that for others it may be something that works, but it's not for me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It appears you forgot the <sarcasm> <sarcasm/>

        It's called having taste :)

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. JP19

    "Apple values the music makers"

    You are shitting me right?

    Apple values their stupid customers who pay well over the odds for iThings.

    They forked out to make the bad publicity go away and keep their stupid customers happy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Apple values the music makers"

      Well they certainly value them more than Google and Spotify, based on their "accept our terms or have your music stolen" handling of similar situations versus Apple's handling.

      After all, a streaming music service isn't worth much if artists decline to allow their music on it. If Apple hadn't got the labels on board with iTunes 15 years ago, the iPod would have been a flop, and the iPhone probably wouldn't exist today - and if Apple still existed at all it would be much smaller than it is today.

    2. g e

      Re: "Apple values the music makers"

      So. If everyone signs up, streams the hell out of it 24/7 for three months then bails....

      An interesting 'financial experiment', perhaps?

  4. Anonymous Coward


    " It appears that Apple values the music makers – who generate the real demand for the “content services” that technology companies provide – as human beings."

    QoW!!! Values the music makers?? AHAHAHAHAH, I think you meant "they value their service with content" !!.

    Come on, if the artists really really want to have the control, it's easy: the richer ones, group together and setup a service for all the artists out there, including the formers.

    1. Jason 24

      Re: OMG

      I thought they had, with Tidal?

      1. g e

        Re: OMG

        Wow, I've seen some shit sites but usually they're made by people with no money...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OMG

      like United Artists?

  5. Phil Endecott


    It's worth noting that when supermarkets run e.g. two-for-one deals, that may be funded by paying the suppliers less. I don't know much about the doughnut industry, but the example in the story might not be entirely accurate.

    See e.g.


    You can pick up a punnet of British raspberries – at their best this weekend – on a two-for-one offer in most supermarkets. But as shoppers reach for that quintessential summer treat, they should perhaps ponder the fact that it is the farmer, not the supermarket, who is paying for the generous discount.

    1. jr424242

      Re: Supermarkets

      That's actually a pretty dumb thing to say, and I mean that in the most loving possible way.

      Raspberries are cheaper to produce in season, so the supply is large, and so suppliers price drops to maximize their total profit. Making 30 cents per unit selling a million things is a hundred times better than making $3/unit selling a thousand. But, If you want to donate to farmers, feel free to send cash.

      Nor do supermarkets force doughnut makers to do anything, including making doughnuts, not this side of the iron curtain in either time or space.

      1. John Tserkezis

        Re: Supermarkets

        "That's actually a pretty dumb thing to say, and I mean that in the most loving possible way."

        Er, no.

        Our (Australian) supermarkets "negotiate" with the farmers for a lower price. That is, "sell it to us at this price, or we'll go elsewhere".

      2. Flatpackhamster

        Re: Supermarkets

        A cheesemaker I know got his product, after long negotiation and lots of work, in to a major UK supermarket whose name sounds a bit like Bainsbury. After a few months the supermarket came to him and said they were going to do a BOGOF deal on his cheese, and he had to supply the free one.

        Now you could try to argue that cheese has a 'season' and so this small scale artisan cheesemaker had it coming because he had lots of cheese that needed shifting and the huge supermarket was just doing him a favour. Or you could accept that the supermarket is the worst thing to happen to food producers in five decades and stop defending their bullying of food producers.

        The outcome of the tale was that the cheesemaker told the supermarket to go and fuck themselves. But the only reason he was able to do this was that he was selling his cheese direct to the customer through farmers' markets, and selling through small delis and the like who weren't trying to fleece him to sustain their corporate profit margin. If he had been entirely reliant on the supermarket for his sales he'd have had to suck it up.

        1. Squander Two

          Re: Supermarkets

          While it is true that retailers will ask their suppliers (and usually from a very strong negotiating position) to reduce their prices and provide special offers, I don't think any of them ever tried what Apple tried there: telling them to give away all their product completely free.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Supermarkets

        Not true, it's a case of "we're running a special deal on your product, if you don't agree we'll drop you".

        Supermarkets (especially Tesco) are barstewards.

  6. Dan Paul

    Streaming is no different than....

    FM Radio is, and the royalties should be the same. RIAA should grow up and consolidate all music royalty types and make them the same everywhere. One song play equals one musicians royalty, one distributor payment.

    Musicians should be given at least 50% of the royalty payment if not more. Anything different is between musician and distributor, not the RIAA. The distributors should not be able to set the percentages in their favor.

    It's good to see that someone with power like Swift can make a company like Apple take notice. Now let's get the "indies" to a place where they have that much power, or a codify some agreeable rules where they do. If we want to argue about equal pay for equal work, then paying musicians for their songs no matter who or when the are played, would be a good start and it would even be gender neutral.

    And thanks Andrew for finally using a reasonable picture of Taylor Swift.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Streaming is no different than....

      "And thanks Andrew for finally using a reasonable picture of Taylor Swift."

      You can thank the back bench for that. Swift holding an apple? Perfect.


      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Streaming is no different than....

        I seem to think that in the video there is a twisted "Sleeping Beauty" allusion and the implication is that the apple is poisoned.

        Does it get any better?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Streaming is no different than....

        > Streaming is no different than.... FM Radio

        An audience of one is the same as an audience of unknown size, possibly up to millions?

        Also, ... no different from FM radio... I think.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why's everyone so upset about musicians not making a living

    I'm really good at ant walking (think dog walking) and it fits in with my mobility, but I can't make a living at it, so have to stack (low) shelves at a supermarket. I know they have an equal oportunity policy and I'm sure they will employee ex-musicians and artistes too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why's everyone so upset about musicians not making a living

      There isn't currently a large market for ants as pets; consequently demand for ant-walkers is very low. That said, there might be an opening for a professional if you're entrepreneurial enough. On the other hand, the various music markets generate a huge amount of money. The problem is that very, very little of it sticks to the people who make the music. So little, that very few of them can afford to do it full-time.

      THAT is why everyone is so upset about musicians (and, increasingly, anyone else trying to be professional copyright-work creators) not making a living, apart perhaps from you, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Kim Dotcom.

    2. Squander Two

      Re: Why's everyone so upset about musicians not making a living

      Speaking as a musician for whom the whole music career thing didn't work out, I'm not upset. My band got a small indie record deal and a few quid to spend on equipment, but it never turned into sales. So I have had to do other stuff to pay the bills. Fair enough. Not everyone succeeds at everything.

      But I would be pissed off if my music had sold for many thousands of pounds and I'd got fifty quid.

      The world doesn't owe musicians a living. People who become mega-rich by selling music owe musicians a living.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Swift outed the arse clowns

    Apple - yeah the same company that uses Chinese slave labor. Same company, same ethics or lack there of. What did you expect?

  9. Peter 39

    Apple gets cluestick

    I expect that Apple is actually rather appreciative of Swift's letter.

    It was clear right from the start that this was a bad decision on *someone's* part but Apple could reverse it without losing face. But after Swift's letter, they can claim that they were caused to seriously reconsider the [inexplicably poor] decision. And everyone will be happy.

    Had this kept going - without Swift's involvement - then it would have become a PR disaster for Apple. They don't do this often but this is a doozy.

    1. MD Rackham

      Re: Apple gets cluestick

      Apple gets good press for appearing reasonable and Swift gets lots of positive PR because she "made Apple back down."

      If I was just a bit more cynical I might think it was planned this way from the start.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Apple even named their new programming language after her: Taylor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, Apple and Swift seem to have a very cosy relationship.

      Is it possible that this is all just a big publicity stunt for the Apple music streaming service?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's entirely possible to listen to all the music one wants on YouTube. It's not much effort to add all the songs/albums/artists you like to a playlist which can be played/shuffled on the go from your phone. This is a completely free and legal way to listen to music you like. Most new material is put out there by the artists (via VEVO) and older stuff is there I suppose in breech of copyright but I doubt illegally for the listener. Maybe for every 10 songs you have an advert but certainly nothing worse than commercial radio. I really don't understand why anyone would pay for a streaming service? Did I miss something? - most people I know seem to consume music like this these days.

    1. FIA

      Re: Youtube?

      I really don't understand why anyone would pay for a streaming service? Did I miss something?

      If no one pays for the things they like then those things will go away.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Youtube?

        That's kinda the point.

        The streaming music services are trying very hard to convince us that this is something we want and want enough to pay for.

        Except, they seem to be failing in this. Serious music lovers won't touch them with a barge-pole and occasional music listens won't pay £9.99 a month when they can get the music they want for free. So who is left?

    2. Jason 24

      Re: Youtube?

      Problem with Youtube is having to keep the app open and the video playing, which is a huge drain on a smart phone battery, not great when you're on the move.

    3. Squander Two

      Re: Youtube?

      > I suppose in breech of copyright but I doubt illegally

      Quite a staggering level of cluelessness right there.

  12. TheProf Silver badge

    all your base are belong to us

    Of course even Ms Swift isn't above using Apple tactics.

    1. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

      Re: all your base are belong to us

      essentially Swift's people offered him a deal for model rights which he took and then whinged about.

      photogs aren't above freetarding. you want a model release from ms t swift? sounds expensive to me. my rates are very reasonable though...

  13. Dana W

    I may have a house full of Apple Kit, but I don't buy DRMed and I don't do streaming. If I pay for music I want a copy on MY end or no dice.

    Apple, from a devotee, this is a big pile of do not want.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So don't pay for it then you over-entitled numpty...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      True and if the CD I'm after is an old album I'll buy an old copy from as far back as I can.

      The new ones, especially "re-mastered" are often messed up, massively squashed dynamics and sometimes they have anti-rip.

  14. tempemeaty
    Big Brother

    Avarice, greed lowering the quaity of Apple...

    Some might say it's just a bad decision and I can see it as a valid point but I'm more cynical. I believe it's simple avarice on Apples's part. It's exactly the kind of thing Board Members of one of a corporation would demand of their CEO. Now that "Apple" has pulled this stunning example of avarice, I would like to know "who" is behind this and if that same party is also responsible to the crap all soldered in RAM iMacs as well...or the ridiculous releases schedule that has lowered the quality and user experience with their OS.

  15. Julian Smart

    Suddenly ethical?

    Is it just me, or is it a little odd to suddenly paint Apple as ethical and fab after being forced to reverse their blatantly unethical behaviour by industry pressure? They thought they could get away with being greedy evil bastards, and they should be condemned and boycotted for that. Not praised for their wondrous new-found generosity. They will get away with whatever they can. It could be you or me they try to shaft next.

    1. Mitoo Bobsworth

      Re: Suddenly ethical?

      It seems that Mr Jobs' 'reality distortion field' still has some residual effect.

    2. Mike Green

      Re: Suddenly ethical?

      I completely agree, this was a stupid greedy move they thought they'd try and then found out people weren't going to stand for it and so had to back down. Not an ethical move... It's annoying that people think it's good of them to back down when being good would have been paying their contributors without having to go through this. Especially when other artists have had the threat of having their music removed from itunes if they didn't agree.

      Apple have been complete cocks, nuff said.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Suddenly ethical?

        Jobs was forced to use DRM when he started the original download music service. Remember, he refused to support Blu-ray on OSX due to all the horrid restrictions.

        He liked simplicity and DRM complicates everything.

        OSX never had a licence screen, licence keys etc.

  16. dan1980

    "It appears that Apple values the music makers – who generate the real demand for the “content services” that technology companies provide – as human beings. Not a unit item to be pared to as close to zero as possible.

    It’s a refreshing change for a Silicon Valley company not to act cynically, but ethically."

    Ah.... not quite. Apple was and is being cynical and it is most certainly trying to minimise what it pays to artists. It cynically tried to pare those costs back to zero, revealing that it thought it only fair that the 'valued' artists cover the costs of Apple's launch promotion.

    The u-turn they made was for publicity and to get artists on side. They tried to pay the minimum possible (zero) but found that that was not feasible so had to pay more. That is not ethical behaviour.

    Ethical behaviour is doing the 'right' thing even when you don't have to - not doing the right thing only once you are made to.

  17. jimbo60

    Suddently Apple is the hero?

    Apple gets very publicly punched in the nose by someone who actually stands up to bullying one-sided contracts, and because they flinch they're suddenly heroes? All because they weren't as obnoxious as the worst offenders. Apparently the reality distortion field is still working well.

    Keep an eye on the birdie...I hope El Reg reports on the terms of the updated contracts.

    Also, Swift sure seems to be one sharp lady, or she has some real brains working for her.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    And in the end Apple agreed to pay the artists and made themselves look like jerks

    I doubt this will kill Apple Music, but its not the type of pre-launch publicity that Apple wants.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: And in the end Apple agreed to pay the artists and made themselves look like jerks

      You have no idea how it works do you?

      I bet most people didn't even know Apple were launching a streaming service, now they do.

    2. <shakes head>

      Re: And in the end Apple agreed to pay the artists and made themselves look like jerks

      what do you mean this is not the publisity Apple want, everyone is now talking about the service.

  19. vee Hybrid

    She would not be missed in my eyes. The music / artist scene has been dross since the 90s. No artist today can get even close to Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Oasis etc etc. talentless rubbish in the charts!

    1. InNY

      ver Hybrid

      I concur. It's awful the way these new artists appear and become popular with people actually listening to them and, amazingly, are willing to pay for the experience.

      Personally, I was gutted when Radio 1 dropped Mozart from their play lists and shoved him over to Radio 3...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Streaming ... audio ... video

    As a long suffering consumer, I'd like to be able to pay £<x> ONCE to WHOEVER to be able to access content. And from thereon in, everyone else can fight it out.

    If I wanted to have access to fill my viewing tastes, it's

    License Fee (non-negotiable, unless I never watch live TV)

    Amazon Prime


    Sky (for Sky Atlantic)


    (notice I haven't added in the audio services to cover everything)

    That's 5 vulture bites from my hard earned wonga. So currently, I have no problem paying just for Virgins 30Mb broadband (we have fiber) and acquiring everything else *my* way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Streaming ... audio ... video

      That's what I call the "free market", free as in "freedom".

      All I want to do is go to a website, pay £3 for a film and then download a DRM free MP4. Is that too much to ask?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the same with the supermarkets, people think "oh wow, buy one get one free" and love the supermarket for it, but in reality this is being paid for by the supplier.

    So Apple gets the credit for their kind free trial period when the music artist was paying, Apple wasn't losing a dime.

  22. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Come on El-Reg

    Can't you find a non soft focus, non airbrushed image of her anywhere?

    No one living has skin that perfect.

    Or won't her PR company let anyone see images of the real Ms Swift?

    What with all those restrictions they put on Photographers at her events?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    A cunning stunt

    Huge publicity for Apple's new service, huge publicity for Ms Swift's new album. Totally obvious that it was a stunt set up between them.

  24. Matthew 17

    No idea what she does

    However, glad Apple changed their minds. They've always wanted to be seen as the company who is on the side of the creative types. Still don't see the appeal of streaming, devalues music to the level of a cat gif.

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