Axl Rose made a seemingly unprompted move on social media late Wednesday night. Out of the blue with no further context, the Guns N’ Roses frontman called Apple CEO Tim Cook “the Donald Trump of the music industry.”
Considering what he’s tweeted in the past about the president, that’s definitely not a compliment.
Earlier this year, Cook spoke about his company’s efforts with streaming in an interview with Fast Company. “Music is interesting because it inspires people. It motivates people. There is a deep emotional connection,” he said. “Apple was serving musicians with a Macintosh back in ’84–’85. So it’s something that’s deep in our DNA.”
“It’s a service that we worry about the humanity being drained out of,” he added. “We worry about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world, instead of the art and craft. You’re right, we’re not in it for the money. I think it’s important for artists. If we’re going to continue to have a great creative community, [artists] have to be funded.”
Not all musicians are fans of the streaming model for distributing their sounds.
Def Leppard co-lead guitarist Phil Collen has said he’s a fan of Apple Music (“It’s amazing”), but also found parts of the streaming platform troubling. “I think it’s the end of music as we bought it. It’s changed everything, it’s changed music and how we get it, and it’s stopped people buying music,” Collen told The Telegraph in 2016. He later added, “As always, what annoys me about anything like that is that the artists get the short end of the stick. The CEO of whatever company is just rolling in it, on the pennies that others earn, they’re getting gazillions of dollars. But there you go, ain’t nothing new there.”
Taylor Swift also famously sparred with Apple Music, which prompted a change in the platform’s policy for royalties.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal this past January, the National Music Publisher’s Association raised the amount of royalties songwriters and music publishers receive from streaming by 40 percent.
Guns N’ Roses is currently readying for their summer tour, which kicks off this June and takes the band through Europe.