Apple has announced that, on June 30th, it will be releasing a new music streaming service–Apple Music. The service is an alternative to to buying specific tracks and albums. To establish a user base Apple Music will be free for three months after its release. Such licensing terms have many independent record labels and artists questioning how they will survive if they are not receiving royalties. Artists planning to release albums in the next three months are especially concerned about the devaluing of their work. While Apple intends to pay out 71.5 percent of its profit to labels, this is after the free three month trial where producers go unpaid. Still, this pay out is similar to its competitors such as Spotify which pays 70 percent of revenue to labels.
Renowned indie record label, Beggars Group, has expressed some concerns with Apple’s refusal to pay royalties to copyright owners during the free trial of Apple Music. “We struggle to see why rights owners and artists should bear this aspect of Apple’s customer acquisition costs.” Beggars Group owns highly grossing artists such as: Adele, Vampire weekend, Jack White, and M.I.A., in addition to labels including: XL Recording, 4AD, Rough Trade Records, and Matador Records. However, at this time Beggars, has stated that Apple Music does not have an agreement set up that they are willing to participate in. Apple has declined to comment on industry opposition.
In a recent interview Andy Heath, chairman of lobby group UK Music, reviewed Apple Music stating, small labels will be “completely screwed” by the free trial–“If you are running a small label on tight margins you literally can’t afford to do this free trial business.” The CEO of the Association of Independent Music in Australia is also wary of possible consequences working with Apple Music. “Apple has introduced their plans and its lack of consultation with the independent music sector over deal terms has left us with the uneasy feeling that independents are being railroaded into an agreement.” While the free trial does not pose as much of a threat to industry leaders, it is still influential. Since the announcement of Apple Music’s launch last week, no British independent labels have agreed to Apple’s terms.
FDRMX Eyes: This a fun video by indie pop group Kali Briis for the song “I Love Your Face”. It starts off with stylized birds that look similar to penguins, flipping switches on and off to the metronome-like beat, and then it gets interesting. Check out the video here.[jwplatform S7zbyPPg-daFoP3nJ]