Taylor Swift to Apple: OK, let's rock!

In a tweet, the pop star says fans will be able to stream her chart-topping "1989" album on Apple Music, after her complaint about a royalty loophole made the tech giant change its tune.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman
2 min read

Taylor Swift pulled her catalog from Spotify last year, and she threatened to hold her album "1989" off Apple Music too. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Apple Music won't have a blank space where Taylor Swift's hottest hits should be.

"I've decided to put '1989' on Apple Music...and happily so," Swift said in a message on Twitter Thursday, referring to the hit 2014 album that she threatened to withhold from the service in a blog post Saturday.

The tweet concludes a whirlwind drama involving Apple, the most valuable company in the world, and Swift, one of the globe's biggest pop stars. As a conversation between two of the biggest names in music played out on social media, the saga revived a public debate about how streaming-music services treats artists. Musicians like Swift complain that streaming formats don't compensate artists fairly.

Swift warned Sunday she would keep "1989" off the forthcoming Apple Music subscription service because of a royalty loophole: Apple wouldn't be paying artists any royalties during three-month free trials. Later that day, Apple's head of software and services, Eddy Cue, tweeted that the electronics giant would capitulate and pay all artists for every stream during the trial period.

Apple plans to launch its first subscription music service, Apple Music, on Tuesday. The company, which redefined music in the digital age by popularizing 99-cent downloads of single tracks with its iTunes Store, long resisted the subscription format, allowing upstarts like Spotify gain steam. However, the rapid rise of new models for paying for music has further complicated music royalties: Streaming may be a boon for the music industry once subscriptions reach greater scale, but for now it has artists like Swift worried they won't be fairly compensated.

"This is simply the first time it's felt right in my gut to stream my album," she wrote in another tweet, noting that the decision wouldn't give Apple an exclusive on her music. "Thank you, Apple, for your change of heart."