MANILA, Philippines – Apple promised subscribers to Apple Music that they could stream songs from the whole iTunes catalog – a catalog of around 30 million songs – for a monthly rate of $9.99 or $14.99 for a family of 6. However, the company encountered complications in locking down deals with some labels.
Reports claim that Apple is presenting an unfair deal to artists and labels alike for its music streaming service, despite Apple promising a 70% share to labels in revenue. They say Apple is demanding they let their music stream for free during the three-month trial period.
The Beggars Group, a group of European labels, has published a press release stating that they do not have an agreement with Apple, citing the deal structure “was created without reference to us” and that it “unsurprisingly presents problems.”
The group also asked why they “should bear [the] aspect of Apple’s customer acquisition costs.” The Beggars Group houses the 4 biggest labels in the UK, which signed artists like Adele, Beck, Radiohead, The Queens of the Stone Age, and The White Stripes.
Andy Heath, chairman of UK Music, told The Telegraph that no British independent label would want to agree because it would “literally put people out of business.”
“They are basically putting all the risk on the labels. People will say ‘oh but you’re on Spotify.’ Well yes, but we get paid for that.” Heath said.
Spotify is on thin ice though. A May report from The Verge stated that Apple was forcing labels to “stop renewing Spotify’s license to stream music through its free tier.”
In the same article, Universal Music Group was said to have been offered money to stop them from allowing its songs in YouTube. It drew the attention of the US Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and the European Union’s Competition Commission who are currently investigating the claims.
Apple also faced difficulty in dealing with other artists. They reportedly took things a step further in dealing with artists, as revealed by Anton Newcombe of Brian Jonestown Massacre. In a series of tweets, he shared how an Apple representative reached out to him and said that his band’s music will be taken out of iTunes if he does not agree to stream his music for free during Apple Music’s trial period.
An Apple representative has spoken to Rolling Stone and refuted the claims.
With other high-profile artists, they failed to get The Beatles on board, while Taylor Swift met the service halfway, agreeing to make her back catalog available on the platform until her album ‘Red’. A representative from her label, Big Machine, said that there are no plans yet to release 1989 to any streaming platform.
Apple Music will begin on June 30 (July 1, Manila Time) – Rappler.com
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