Apple Music, the hardware giant's soon-to-launch streaming service, has landed an eleventh-hour coup, striking deals with the independents’ digital rights organization Merlin and with Martin Mills’ indie powerhouse Beggars Group, sources tell Billboard.
Beggars includes labels like 4AD, XL, Matador and Rough Trade and has had a hand in the careers of Adele, Radiohead and Arcade Fire, and others. Merlin represents 20,000 labels and distributors worldwide.
In a letter to members, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas wrote, "I am pleased to say that Apple has made a decision to pay for all usage of Apple Music under the free trials on a per-play basis, as well as to modify a number of other terms that members had been communicating directly with Apple about. With these changes, we are happy to support the deal."
The deals come after Apple caved in to criticism of its demand that labels and artists foot the bill for its three month free trail. An open letter to Apple from Taylor Swift was the tipping point. Swift said, "We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation."
Here's the full letter...
Dear Merlin Member
I am pleased to say that Apple has made a decision to pay for all usage of Apple Music under the free trials on a per-play basis, as well as to modify a number of other terms that members had been communicating directly with Apple about. With these changes, we are happy to support the deal.
As you know Merlin has not historically had a direct contract with Apple. Apple has direct deals with our members, and that continues to be the case. Therefore, the amendments referred to above will apply to your existing direct agreements, and the amended contract will shortly appear on iTunes Connect. However, Apple has indicated that in the future they are open to engaging with Merlin as a central point of communication and negotiation for our membership.
Apple has a long standing, deep rooted relationship with the music community and has always helped ensure artists get paid for their work. We think Apple Music provides artists with a business model that’s good for the long term and we look forward to its launch on June 30.
We would remind you as ever that each member must make its own independent decisions in relation to Apple Music and its business in general.
More details can be found at the link below...