The neat narrative would run that Taylor Swift, the planet’s biggest pop star, went toe to toe with Apple, the wealthiest company in corporate history, over its decision not to pay musicians and songwriters royalties for music its subscribers listened to during their three-month free trial to its streaming service Apple Music. She didn’t blink and Apple backed down. Taylor saved the day.Except that the real story is far less simple. The Tumblr post in which Swift criticised “this historically progressive and generous company”did not happen in a vacuum. Last week, there had been rumblings among independent labels that quickly built to a thunderstorm. Record companies and trade bodies in the UK, the US, Germany, France and Australia piled in and said they were not doing deals with Apple until it agreed to pay them during the free trials. Collectively, the protesting labels – which included Beggars Group, home to Adele and Britain’s largest indie – represented about a quarter of the global market. Not to have Swift’s album 1989 on Apple Music, when it launches at the end of the month, is one thing; to be missing tens of millions of songs from independent acts is a whole other matter. Apple Music to pay royalties during free trial: 'We hear you Taylor Swift' Read moreApple had been, for the most part, a good partner for record labels and artists since 2003, when the iTunes store first opened. So the company’s recent moves were met with incredulity. That Swift stood up for all artists is something to be applauded and the fact that Apple saw (or was shamed into seeing) its error is a big step on from how Spotify dealt with the rebellion from the same artist last year. Then, Swift said she only wanted her album made available to Spotify subscribers rather than the streaming service’s ad-funded listeners. Instead of looking to negotiate, Spotify dug its heels in and Swift pulled her music from the service. A very senior US music executive, speaking anonymously, said: “Daniel Ek [Spotify’s co-founder] goes to war with arguably the biggest pop star in th排列三开奖771前后关系 e world and instead of backing down he doubles down. We are watching this like it’s a car crash in slow motion. You never go to war with the artist. Ever. Even when you’re right. Or think you’re right. Who are people going to be more sympathetic to? America’s sweetheart or the funny bald guy with the accent? Let’s see.”What this all most represents is the steady rise of a new generation of business-savvy artists speaking out on industry matters in a way they did not, or could not, in the past. Swift and Thom Yorke have both publicly criticised Spotify; Jay Z recently bought Tidal and made the point that artists needed to be treated and paid better on digital services. The assault on Apple was part of this revolt.Dear Taylor Swift, Get Apple to change these things too, Love everyone Read more“Absolutely hats off to Taylor Swift for championing all artists here,” says James Barton, commercial director at the Music Managers’ Forum. “It is a fantastic move. The most significant thing here is the recognition of the power of the artist’s voice. If you look at the history of the modern music industry, the artists get to speak about a lot of things but rarely about the terms of business that affect the works they create. That is an historic wrong that needs correcting.”Yet focusing on the power of one artist gives a fractured perspective. What happened with Spotify might have been bad for the company in PR terms, but not necessarily in business terms. Even though Swift removed her music, Spotify has still managed to double its paying subscriber base to 20 million people since then. Streaming services sell themselves on the scale of their offering, with upwards of 30m tracks instantly available. There is so much music that the absence of one leading artist will be disappointing for some, but nowhere near a deal-breaker for others. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Taylor Swift – Bad BloodThe bigger issue here, however, is not about getting services to pay more – it’s about how that money makes its way through to the artists. Spotify says 70% of its revenues are paid to rights holders and Apple last week suggested that it will pay slightly more than that. That money goes to labels and publishers first and then a percentage is paid through to the performers and writers according to the terms of their contracts. It’s as if you get work through an employment agency, but rather than getting paid based on the employer’s salary structure, you get paid according to what small part of the salary the agency fancies passing on to you. So getting Apple to pay for the free trial is a victory for labels and publishers, but it does not follow that it is a victory for artists. Barton feels Swift’s latest move could be the spur for a push to remove the obfuscation that is baked into a lot of digital service contracts. “When that money goes to rights-holders, what then happens?” he asks. “There is a lot of suspicion among us as representatives of the artists, because the truth is we don’t know. We do not get transparent accounting [for streaming payments].”That is the larger battle for Taylor Swift and every other performer and writer, and one that shows how small this weekend’s victory has really been.