New York City is known for being the location of many famous recording studios. As with other types of creative work, music is known as intellectual property and is therefore protected by intellectual property laws. One of the aspects of IP law is the right to be paid for one’s music when it is broadcast or featured on a program or service. This includes online music streaming companies, which make their money either from advertisements or customers who pay a fee to enjoy their music ad-free. The streaming companies pay the artists who allow their music to be played on the service.
Recently, the Apple company announced the unveiling of a new streaming service, Apple Music. The company told customers they would be able to enjoy a free three-month trial period. However, Apple then told artists they would not be paid for their music during these three months. This would not necessarily affect more well-known artists too much, who are already financially established, but going three months without being paid is not preferable for new or independent musicians.
Taylor Swift was among a few music artists who vocally protested Apple’s move. Ms. Swift wrote a letter to the company and posted it on social media. She stated she was not concerned about being paid herself but was upset that lesser-known artists were being told they would not receive payment for three months. Apple executives changed their minds and announced that artists will be paid during the trial period.
Depending on the contract an artist signs with a company that broadcasts or displays the artist’s intellectual property, if the terms of the contract are not honored it may be cause for intellectual property litigation.
Source: International Business Times, “Taylor Swift Successfully Changes Apple’s Decision On Three-Month No-Pay Policy,” Annie D., June 24, 2015