Apple Music’s exclusive relationship with Taylor Swift just came to an end. Her music catalog is now available on other streaming services such as Spotify and Amazon Music Prime. That’s good news for Apple’s streaming music competitors, and it doesn’t necessarily mean the singer had a falling out with the company.
Taylor Swift’s management team shared the news on Twitter saying it was a celebration of her 1989 album selling over 10 million albums worldwide.
— Taylor Nation (@taylornation13) June 8, 2017
The official proclamation hasn’t stopped speculation that Swift and Apple had some sort of falling out. With bad blood in the mix, she chose to end her exclusive streaming deal with Apple.
Taylor Swift versus Apple Music
Swift called out Apple in 2015 when Apple Music was launching over artist payment terms. She penned an open letter criticizing the iPhone and iPad maker for not paying royalties for songs streamed during Apple Music’s three-month free trial period that caught the media’s attention, and apparently the attention of Apple’s executive staff, too.
Apple reversed course and announced it would pay artists when their songs were streamed even when they’re played during a listener’s free trial period. Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Services and Software, said her letter was instrumental in the company’s decision to change its royalty payment terms.
Swift’s win for artists turned into a win for Apple, too, because her 1989 album became an Apple Music exclusive. She also pulled her library from all other streaming services because they weren’t paying artists for songs streamed on their free tiers, making her all Apple Music all the time.
Goodbye Exclusive Apple Music Deal
It’s possible Swift ended her exclusive Apple Music deal because she’s locking horns with Apple again over the music industry. She’s had issues with Apple before, so it could happen again.
While that would make for an enticing story, I think the reality is much more mundane: Swift’s contract for Apple Music exclusivity ended and it wasn’t worth it to renew the deal.
Apple’s competitors now pay royalties for songs on their free streaming levels, killing her reason for going exclusively with Apple Music. As the streaming music market grows, it’s also harder to justify sticking with just one. Appearing on multiple services makes more sense now because it increases visibility and bumps up the potential royalty earnings an artist can make.
It makes more sense that Swift’s Apple Music exclusivity ended because her contract expired and it didn’t make financial sense for her or Apple to strike a new deal. In the end, it’s all about the money and not the emotions.