Apple Music locks up Taylor Swift’s 1989 concert video as an exclusive
Tay-Tay reportedly nabs a nice paycheck, and becomes a major marketing point for Apple’s streaming music service.
If you want to watch Taylor Swift in concert without buying a ticket, you’ll have to subscribe to Apple Music.
In an exclusive deal, Apple Music will be the only place to stream Swift’s 1989 World Tour Live performance. Recorded on November 28 in Sydney, Australia, the video includes Swift’s entire on-stage performance, along with backstage and rehearsal footage. There’s no word on whether the concert will ever be available for purchase through other sources.
According to Recode, Swift collected a (presumably sizeable) paycheck as part of deal. In exchange, Apple will make Swift a major part of its marketing plans, with her likeness appearing on store displays and iTunes gift cards. She’s also appearing on Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio stream to hype up the concert.
The arrangement represents quite a reversal from June, when Swift criticized Apple Music for not paying out royalties to artists during users’ free trial periods. Apple quickly reversed its position, and Swift brought her latest album, 1989, to Apple Music—an exclusive among streaming services. Swift later explained to Vanity Fair that Apple treated her “like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about.”
The whole ordeal may be provoking broader shifts in the streaming music industry. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Spotify may let artists withhold music from the service’s free tier, which brings in far less revenue for musicians than Spotify’s $10 per month premium version. Swift is among several major artists who have pulled their entire catalogs from Spotify, feeling that the free version has devalued their work. Apple Music, by comparison, offers a three-month trial and free radio stations, but no free on-demand tier like Spotify does.
Why this matters: The reality for subscription streaming music services is that they’re fairly similar, with just a handful of marginal features to distinguish them. That partly explains why Apple Music’s 6.5 million paid subscribers—while respectable for a fairly new service—is nowhere near Spotify’s 20 million members. Locking up exclusives is one way to stand out, so this could be a trend to watch even for people with no interest in Swift’s music.