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# PR: When Apple Blinked
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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By now I am sure we have all heard the news reports of the recent little tiff between country/pop singer Taylor Swift and Apple. A recent article that appeared on TIME Magazine’s online version titled How a 25-Year-Old Blogger Took Down Apple authored by Jack Dickey is interesting indeed. From a PR perspective, this story is even more fascinating on how quickly a corporate giant can move, if it has to, to avert a public relations crisis.
Ms Swift, who is in her own right a successful businesswoman alongside her red-hot music career – she has a line of greeting cards already to her name, posted on Tumblr over the weekend about Apple’s apparent new policy “announced on June 8 that it would launch its own streaming music service, one with the presumable aim of eating into the 60 million users Spotify says it has. Apple Music even announced its price as $9.99 per month, the same figure Spotify charges for its premium subscriptions.”
In his piece, Dickey continued:
What Swift and others have reasoned is that any music service which offers a free, ad-supported option, as Spotify does, cannot offer them a worthwhile fee for their recordings. (Country singer Rosanne Cash said in September her songs were streamed 600,000 times over an 18-month period—and she received $104.)

“Apple’s service has no such option. But its launch would come with three free trial months of service—months during which it would not compensate labels for the music it streamed. Hence Swift’s ire (and others’), and the singer’s Tumblr post, “To Apple, Love Taylor,” on Sunday morning. By nightfall, Eddy Cue, Apple’s media chief, had announced on Twitter that the company would reverse course and pay artists out of its own pocket (deep, incidentally, as the Marianas Trench, which makes you wonder why Apple didn’t think to pay in the first place). Cue told Billboard on Sunday, “When I woke up this morning and saw what Taylor had written, it really solidified that we needed to make a change.” He said he called Swift directly to tell her the news.”

Ms Swift started her career several years ago as a country singer and recently moved over to the pop genre. Her concerts are repatedly sold-out and she has won numerous music awards for her talent. That is why, as Dickey noted in his piece, “It’s exceedingly surprising, when the proper nouns are stripped away, that a 25-year-old’s blog post—on a Sunday—could compel Apple, the world’s most valuable company (by market cap), to change course later that day on an already-announced major consumer product, one that had presumably occasioned dozens of previous meetings and strategy sessions and chin-stroking over the product’s peculiarities. But this is a story about Taylor Swift, who was already before Sunday the biggest thing going in popular music and is now manifesting herself as something even bigger, a singular commercial powerhouse with the strength and resolve to fight the continued devaluation of recorded music—and to get things done.”

Simply said, Apple blinked. End of story.

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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