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All Aboard! Indie Labels Agree to Apple Music's New Terms. What About Taylor?

Apple Music launches next Tuesday. Now it has just about everyone it needs signed up ...

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Independent labels that had complained about Apple’s plans for its upcoming music subscription service have changed their minds, because Apple has changed its terms.

Which means the biggest remaining question before the Apple Music launch on Tuesday is whether Taylor Swift will be on board.

Impala, the European trade group for indie labels, and Beggars Group, one of the most prominent indies, have announced that they’re happy with Apple’s new terms.

Indies had complained about Apple’s original plan, which wouldn’t have generated any revenue for them or any other music rights holders during Apple Music’s free three-month trial period; Apple backed down from that plan on Sunday after labels, and eventually Taylor Swift, complained.

“Apple has made a decision to pay for all usage of Apple Music under the free trials on a per-play basis, as well as to modify a number of other terms and issues raised by independent labels,” Impala said in a statement.

And here’s Beggars’ statement: “Over the last few days we have had increasingly fruitful discussions with Apple. We are now delighted to say that we are happy to endorse the deal with Apple Music as it now stands, and look forward to being a big part of a very exciting future.”

The announcements wipe out most of the uncertainty ahead of Apple’s subscription service launch. But Taylor Swift, whose open letter to Apple pushed the company to capitulate, hasn’t said yet if she is on board.

Swift had previously said she wouldn’t allow “1989,” the album she released last fall, on Apple Music because of its free trial terms. On Sunday Swift tweeted that she was “elated and relieved” that Apple had changed course, but has yet to formally announce if she’s changed her mind. Swift’s back catalog, though, will be available on Apple Music.

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