Billy Corgan: “Apple Making the Same Mistake Tidal Made”

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan spoke out Monday about Apple’s decision to cave in to country/pop crossover star Taylor Swift’s demands that artists be paid during the 3-month free-trial period for Apple Music. The decision points out a disconnect, Corgan told CNBC, between Apple and the bulk of the arists whose music populates their catalog. “Apple is making the same mistake Tidal made,” Corgan noted in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Valley” program. Like Tidal, Corgan explained, Apple is showing that it is only concerned about the top 12 or so artists whose music is on the service, leaving thousands of smaller artists to fend for themselves or hope one of the top sellers speaks up.

The move Corgan referenced in the interview came over the weekend, when Swift published an open letter to the tech giant, threatening to withhold her hugely popular 1989 album from the service after Apple announced it wouldn’t compensate artists during the free trial period. “Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing,” Taylor explained. In response to the letter, Apple relented, announcing Monday that all artists would be compensated during the trial. Corgan, meanwhile, applauded Swift for taking a stand but noted: ” this is going to be played out by the media as ‘Taylor versus Apple,’ and that’s not the real story. The real story is the 10,000 other artists that Apple doesn’t pay attention to past their top 12.”

Corgan also said that the power of Apple, Spotify and other streaming services will continue unchecked unless artists “wake up”. “Once artists understand the power they have in this marketplace, all heck’s going to break loose. This is a big admission on Apple’s part that they’re afraid of the negative tide that could be beginning, so they want to nip it in the bud,” Corgan explained. “We’re not being paid commensurate to our value to Apple, Spotify or to anybody. Once the artists wake up, there’s going to be a bloody turf war, and this is a very big sign of what I’ve been predicting.”