After a series of back-and-forths between Apple and Taylor Swift over royalties, a near-break up between the superstar and Apple Music and a final mea culpa between the two, Swift is now planning on releasing a documentary for her 1989 concert tour exclusively on Apple Music.
A release like this is still a big moment for Apple. It could help attract more potential subscribers to Apple Music. While it represents a small sliver of potential revenue for the company, Apple Music can potentially make Apple’s platforms all that much more sticky — and keep people locked in Apple’s ecosystem. With Swift releasing her documentary exclusively on Apple Music, it’s likely others will follow — and give Apple an increasing library of content exclusive to its own services.
This also helps Apple Music offer something unique and unavailable on other music streaming services. It’s an area where activity has started to quickly ramp up with the launch of YouTube Music and the continuing presence of Spotify. Apple Music is also now on Android devices, helping Apple expand its brand even beyond its own devices — and potentially lure those users over to an iPhone or iPad.
All this, taken together with Swift’s new exclusive documentary, gives Apple a better method of drawing people into buying Apple devices.
The release follows a sparring match between Swift and Apple. Initially, Swift essentially threatened to pull her music from Apple’s new streaming service — which would not pay royalties during a three-month free trial period. And now, the company and Swift have apparently fully buried the hatchet.
The crux of the issue was that while the unpaid trial period was not necessarily a problem for Swift, it could be a problem for independent musicians trying to make a living. Swift has garnered such a following that she was able to force Apple’s hand and change its policy, returning to paying royalties during the free trial period.