Indie Labels Say 3 Month Free Apple Music Trial Would Leave Them 'Completely Screwed'

Indie Labels Say 3 Month Free Apple Music Trial Would Leave Them 'Completely Screwed'

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Independent record labels in Britain are upset that Apple is trying to get them to agree to a three-month free trial of Apple Music during which time they would not get paid for any streamed music, reports The Telegraph.

The plan was only disclosed to indie labels following an unveiling of Apple Music at WWDC. Andy Heath, the chairman of UK Music, says the plan has caused dismay among British labels such as XL Recordings, the home of Adele, and Domino the label behind Arctic Monkeys.

Mr Heath told The Telegraph that to his knowledge no British independent labels have agreed to Apple’s terms or intend to on grounds they will “literally put people out of business”.

“If you are running a small label on tight margins you literally can’t afford to do this free trial business. Their plan is clearly to move people over from downloads, which is fine, but it will mean us losing those revenues for three months,” said Heath. “Apple hasn’t thought this through at all and it’s not like them. They can’t spring a contract like this on us three weeks from release. 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."

“Of course my members want another player in the market but not at the risk of their survival", said Heath. “Apple is sitting there with this massive pile of cash and saying to us, ‘you help us start a new business’. Well I just don’t think it is going to happen on these terms.”

On Apple's end, it has promised labels a higher than average royalty rate once the free 3 month trial is over. Spotify gives labels 70% of revenues; however, Apple is reportedly giving labels 71.5% in the U.S. and around 73% internationally.

Apple Music is set to launch on June 30th, whether or not it is able to reach a deal with independent labels. Please follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.

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Indie Labels Say 3 Month Free Apple Music Trial Would Leave Them 'Completely Screwed'

Speaklogic - June 17, 2015 at 6:21pm
I'm starting to get very disappointed in Apple and their rogue business that practices; they are already known for their extremely brutal negotiation practices with small islands like Taiwan and now they're extremely unfriendly to record labels especially the Indie ones how much damn money do you need apple 1 trillion? 1 zillion? It seems never enough!
Andatthe - June 17, 2015 at 6:49pm
When people do pay the $10 fee per month, Apple pay the artists more than Spotify so it can't be that bad if they are getting paid more per play.
Dash - June 18, 2015 at 2:55am
I get it and at the same time I don't I guess they think everyone will leave spotify but if they still keep a decent amount of people on spotify and still sell their music three months shouldn't be too bad especially when it's new revenue that's what I don't understand how is it going to kill them if they are doing fine yes it will hurt them a bit but definitely not kill them this is more than apple just trying to get money it has to do with the indie labels trying to have their cake and eat it too...
Spanner_Man - June 19, 2015 at 1:26am
Ok for those three months you don't get any pay for any work that you do. *That* is what Apple is expecting. I bet Apple won't flip the coin so to speak and pay those Indies for those three months out of its own pockets. And If anyone says Apple shouldn't then why should the Indies do the same? I'm with the Indies on this.
eth1 - June 17, 2015 at 6:20pm
Apple bringing in the Communistic idea of starving artists by giving away their hard work for FREE. Apple is such a communist company. Builds phone in Communist China, drafts services with Communist idea of giving away OTHER people's work for FREE while they gain all the subscription fee for 3 Months.
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