Apple vs Taylor Swift

Ahmed Fahad
2 min readJun 21, 2015


Before we get into the actual topic, let’s do a quick recap of what Apple Music is, and where it’s headed. Apple Music will be doing more or less exactly what Spotify have been doing for a few years now. Is it overhyped? Yes. But that doesn’t mean it won’t succeed. Spotify has 20 million paying subscribers. Apple will probably have that within 90 days of the free trial ending, whether the launch is a mess or not. The power of default, the power of Apple having your credit cards, and I expect a lot of artist endorsement of the service like Spotify. I am a very happy Spotify user, but I think many are underestimating Apple Music based on a really bad demo.

Prominent artists, like Drake, have been backing Apple Music since it’s announcement.

In this blog post (, Taylor Swift sheds light on an issue which most users don’t know and probably didn’t care about till now.

“… I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”

There’s already a lot of controversy surrounding Apple Music, this blog post by Taylor Swift will probably open the floodgates to lots more. Expect more artists to speak up now, such is the domino effect. Will it change Apple’s original plan? I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s got a point, but I don’t see Apple budging anytime soon.

The way I see it, the only circumstances under which Apple will review their payment policy for artists are these:

  1. A significant number of artists withdraw from Apple Music (Unlikely to happen because most artists are assuming Apple Music will succeed, and are probably planning on waiting it out during the trial period.)
  2. A few prominent artists/bands withdraw and start a campaign surrounding this issue. (Again, unlikely because this policy is mostly hurting emerging artists, who don’t have a million dollars in their bank accounts. Prominent artists, on the other hand, can undoubtedly sustain themselves and their employees for 90 days and will hope to reap benefits afterwards.)

Conclusion: Whether Taylor Swift’s bold move will make any difference to Apple Music depends on whether other prominent artists will choose to stand up for the little guys.



Ahmed Fahad

Founding team / VP of Product @ Pathao (; Global Shaper @ World Economic Forum. (