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Hot! Apple to Pay Independent Artists


Thanks to a rebellion by independent labels and Taylor Swift, Apple has decided to pay artists and labels for the songs streamed during Apple Music’s three-month free trial period.

Apple was not going to pay musicians any royalties for the first three months after its new streaming service launched.

But Apple SVP Eddy Cue announced on Twitter that the company has reversed its decision and will pay artists even during the customers’ free trial period.

“Apple will make sure that artists are paid,” Cue tweeted, continuing: “Apple Music will pay artists for streaming even during customers’ free trial period. We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”

Once the three month free trial is over, Apple had said that it was going to give labels, publishers and other music owners over 70% of revenues from its new music streaming service. While Cue said that artists would now be paid on a per-stream basis during the free trial, he did not specify how much that would be, since Apple Music won’t be bringing in any revenue at this point.

Spotify says it pays labels and publishers between $0.006 and $0.0084 per stream. A Guardian report suggests that the average payment a signed artist gets after their label takes its share is a mere $0.001128.

We also don’t know whether this will change the percentage of revenues artists will be paid after the three month trial is over. We have yet to see anything that would suggest that the previous revenue agreements will change, but have reached out to Apple to confirm.

In an interview with Re/Code last week, Apple exec Robert Kondrk, who negotiates music deals alongside Eddy Cue, revealed how much of the $9.99 users will pay per month after the free trial is going to go to artists and labels.

Apple will pay music owners 71.5% of Apple Music’s revenue in the US. Outside the US this could fluctuate, but will average out at around 73%. How much the musicians who wrote the songs will actually get depends on the contracts they have with the music labels and publishers who distribute their songs, the report pointed out. The total of around 70% will go to the people who own the complete sound recordings Apple Music will play and the people who own the publishing rights to the underlying compositions of the songs.

Apple’s revenue split is only a few percentage points more than the industry average of 70%, which Spotify also says it pays.

But everything Apple has done so far — from its advertising campaigns to the decision to pay artists during the three month free trial — is meant to reassure labels and artists that getting paid for allowing their songs to be played on Apple Music is more worthwhile than letting them be played on Spotify.


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