Apple Music marketing features artists whose labels publicly oppose Apple's terms & haven't signed o

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited June 2015
Apple Music's pre-launch marketing campaign has prominently featured big-name independent artists like FKA Twigs and Alabama Shakes, even as their record labels have publicly opposed the new service's financial terms and indicated that they are not yet on board.


The Apple Music microsite featuring a background video of FKA Twigs.


In a Wednesday press release, Beggars Group --?which owns major indie labels 4ad, Matador, Rough Trade, XL Recordings, and The Young Turks --?confirmed earlier reports that it has yet to reach an agreement with Apple to participate in the iPhone maker's new streaming service. Beggars is primarily concerned with Apple's desire to not pay royalties during the three-month free trial period, and is also worried about rights issues that could arise out of Apple Music's Connect feature.

"At the moment we do not have an agreement with Apple Music that would allow us to participate in the new service," Beggars wrote. "However, we very much hope that the obstacles to agreement can be removed, for us and for independent Merlin-member labels as a whole, and that we will be able to fully support this potentially exciting new service in the coming days."

XL Recordings is perhaps the most successful indie label in the world, counting artists like Adele, Jack White, M.I.A., Radiohead, Tyler The Creator, and Vampire Weekend among its acts.

Somewhat paradoxically, XL Recordings is also the home --?via the Young Turks imprint -- of up-and-coming British artist FKA Twigs, who is seen throughout Apple Music's marketing materials. Notably, she's featured in a full-page background video on Apple Music's microsite, and has a smaller presence in the Connect area.

Alabama Shakes is used in marketing, but may not be available to stream.

Southern rock group Alabama Shakes, which is signed to Rough Trade in the U.K., also plays heavily in Apple Music's advertising. The group was featured in a video shown during the WWDC keynote, and is used on the Connect microsite as well. It's worth noting that while Alabama Shakes is represented in the U.S. by Dave Matthews's ATO Records --?and ATO's relationship with Apple Music is currently unknown --?the group is equally featured in Apple Music's U.K. advertising.

It's unclear why Apple chose to feature artists to whom it apparently doesn't hold distribution rights. It may be that the company believed it was closer to an agreement with Beggars than it actually was, and lacked the time to make changes in the run-up to Apple Music's introduction.

Apple might also be leaning on its iTunes licensing arrangements, as all Beggars labels make their music available for purchase through the storefront.

In any case, Apple's decision to promote Apple Music with artists that may not be on the service at launch is puzzling, and could indicate that bringing it to market has been more difficult than imagined.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    jessijessi Posts: 302member

    Apple has the right to distribute these artists via iTunes.  Whether they eventually sign a beats deal or not is not really that material-- at the time the ads were made there were discussions ongoing I'm sure.

  • Reply 2 of 24
    The middlemen want their cut. Fine. Talk to Jimmy.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    The middlemen want their cut. Fine. Talk to Jimmy.

    According to Engadget Apple is allegedly telling indie artists/labels that if they don't allow their music to be part of the free trial Apple will pull their stuff from the iTunes store.
  • Reply 4 of 24
    agramonteagramonte Posts: 345member
    iTunes has nothing to do with it, It is on the Apple Music micro site - they have not agreed to be on that service. 

  • Reply 5 of 24
    rufworkrufwork Posts: 129member

    If they really aren't signed, this is a pretty sloppy misstep for Apple. Check out the press release:

    https://www.apple.com/pr/library/2015/06/08Introducing-Apple-Music-All-The-Ways-You-Love-Music-All-in-One-Place-.html

     

    Quote:


     In addition to human curation, Siri® is also dedicated to helping you enjoy great music and have fun with Apple Music. Ask Siri to, “Play me the best songs from 1994,” “Play the best FKA twigs song...”


     

    There's something about the giant phones, IBM business partnership, loose keynotes, pandering to faddish celebrity, and myopic marketing moves like this one that assure me the Apple of today is, unsurprisingly, not the Apple I knew even five years ago.

  • Reply 6 of 24
    Musicians deserve to get paid during the free period, which is a promotion for Apple music.
  • Reply 7 of 24
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,097member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rufwork View Post

     

    There's something about the giant phones, IBM business partnership, loose keynotes, pandering to faddish celebrity, and myopic marketing moves like this one that assure me the Apple of today is, unsurprisingly, not the Apple I knew even five years ago.


     

    As I mentioned to someone I was talking to at WWDC, when I last went, in 2007, it was not hard to get a ticket to WWDC, the food was better, and more plentiful, feedback sessions were included, and sessions were a bit longer, and there were many more casual activities available at the conference for after hours.   But there were also few customers of Apple products for developers to sell their apps and other wares too.   Now, it is hard to get a ticket to WWDC, the food is not as good, or as plentiful, no feedback sessions, not as many casual activities at the conference for after hours, but there are an order of magnitude or two more customers to buy/use the fruit of the development world.   Not a bad trade off.

  • Reply 8 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by agramonte View Post

    iTunes has nothing to do with it, It is on the Apple Music micro site - they have not agreed to be on that service. 



    Apple Music includes access to music that's been purchased from iTunes, so that would involve groups like Alabama Shakes or FKA Twigs. Also, Apple has to get permission to use the video of FKA Twigs for an advertising campaign. They're likely paying to use it as well.

  • Reply 9 of 24
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 593member
    rufwork wrote: »
    If they really aren't signed, this is a pretty sloppy misstep for Apple. Check out the press release:
    https://www.apple.com/pr/library/2015/06/08Introducing-Apple-Music-All-The-Ways-You-Love-Music-All-in-One-Place-.html


    There's something about the giant phones, IBM business partnership, loose keynotes, pandering to faddish celebrity, and myopic marketing moves like this one that assure me the Apple of today is, unsurprisingly, not the Apple I knew even five years ago.

    ....$10,000 luxury watches, VIP rooms, "boutique" stores, purchase by appointment, me-too music service, car software that is barely available years later....... But I still love the products.
  • Reply 10 of 24
    I don't understand this decision by Apple to launch this new segment of their business at the expense of the record labels, even if they do get paid slightly more per stream after the free trials start converting to paid memberships. Assuming a generous 40 million subscribers during the first three months, that is a (relatively) paltry $858 million that Apple would have to pay out in royalties according to their agreed rates. Only about 0.5% of their cash reserves. Granted, the infrastructure and HR costs are being footed by Apple as well, but given their capabilities, Apple should put their best foot forward and show just a LITTLE generosity towards the labels, and that good will would be worth it's weight in gold in marketing equity if it were talked up, especially given Spotify's well-known underhandedness with the indie labels. Apple would make that money back in about a year anyway, assuming the service is successful.

    I'm very disappointed in Apple because of this. I've been a longtime fan since the 80's, and watched Apple suffer the consequences of putting the bottom line first. Steve came back and put the product ahead of the bottom line as soon as he had the ability to do that. I hope that this anomaly with this pettiness with Apple Music remains just that, otherwise we could see the beginning of the end... but it will just be much more drawn out this time now that they are many orders of magnitude more successful than they ever were in the 20th century.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    brlawyerbrlawyer Posts: 828member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rufwork View Post

     

    If they really aren't signed, this is a pretty sloppy misstep for Apple. Check out the press release:

    https://www.apple.com/pr/library/2015/06/08Introducing-Apple-Music-All-The-Ways-You-Love-Music-All-in-One-Place-.html

     

     

    There's something about the giant phones, IBM business partnership, loose keynotes, pandering to faddish celebrity, and myopic marketing moves like this one that assure me the Apple of today is, unsurprisingly, not the Apple I knew even five years ago.




    We all know that - well, at least those who are unjustly called "trolls" around here.

     

    Been there, done that - the latest keynote disaster was just another ominous sign of things to come under Cook's socially activist leadership. It's time for the Board to step up and find another person; Cook should be moved back to what he does best: supply chain and absolutely nothing else, so as to at least rectify some of the terrible mistakes re availability of recently "launched" devices like the Macbook.

  • Reply 12 of 24
    dachardachar Posts: 330member
    A few years ago the Apple "A Team" seemed to be just a few people. Now they are bringing in various outsiders at great expense. These new people want to justify their position and Cook & Co want to justify paying out such large sums. Result, the once tight ship appears to be falling apart.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member
    I don't know why Apple doesn't just chalk it up to the cost of doing business. Apple needs to stop nickel and dimming content providers.
  • Reply 14 of 24
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nathanimal View Post



    Assuming a generous 40 million subscribers during the first three months, that is a (relatively) paltry $858 million that Apple would have to pay out in royalties according to their agreed rates. 

     

    Apple goal is a 100 million subscribers for free three months, of which they can easily get.

  • Reply 15 of 24
    I believe Apple intentionally promote those artists (who are not yet signed the deal for Apple Music) to show them how the promotion could help them get more recognized than before.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    dachar wrote: »
    Result, the once tight ship appears to be falling apart.

    Here we go again.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kilimanjaro View Post





    Here we go again.



    I'm surprised he didn't call for Tim's head in that post.

  • Reply 18 of 24
    matrix07 wrote: »

    I'm surprised he didn't call for Tim's head in that post.

    Or a call for Ive to grow his hair.
  • Reply 19 of 24
    rufworkrufwork Posts: 129member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chadbag View Post

     

    As I mentioned to someone I was talking to at WWDC, when I last went, in 2007, it was not hard to get a ticket to WWDC, the food was better, and more plentiful, feedback sessions were included, and sessions were a bit longer, and there were many more casual activities available at the conference for after hours.   But there were also few customers of Apple products for developers to sell their apps and other wares too.   Now, it is hard to get a ticket to WWDC, the food is not as good, or as plentiful, no feedback sessions, not as many casual activities at the conference for after hours, but there are an order of magnitude or two more customers to buy/use the fruit of the development world.   Not a bad trade off.


     

    Yep, different's not the same as "bad". It's just different. I can't tell what the rough edges mean for Apple as an investment. One of the things Jobs' Apple was good at was not chasing the money, and not getting caught up with celebrity, while also keeping quality surprisingly high, all things considered. I'm not sure people working at Apple are as worried about their camera getting pitched off stage in a huff of rage now, and I wonder if that lack of fear causes these sorts of (imo) gaffes.

     

    I mean, heck, I like OS 8 more than 6, and I like my iPhone 5S more than the 4S, but I don't feel like either is as disciplined and controlled as what came before. What's the saying about great design being enabled by constraint?

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflagel View Post



    ....$10,000 luxury watches, VIP rooms, "boutique" stores, purchase by appointment, me-too music service, car software that is barely available years later....... But I still love the products.

     

    Yeah, good calls on all of those. And ditto. Really enjoy OS X on my iMac and my iPhone. I'm just not sure I like the stock as much now as I did years ago. With the buybacks and dividends, I'm still in right now, but the warning lights are going off. They're picking up too much of the money that discipline had them leave sitting on the table for years.

     

    And I keep wondering if they could successfully move into another few large sectors (the car rumor, admittedly, has me willing to roll the dice if it gets (har har) traction) before it's time to sell it all.

     

    Quote:


    Originally Posted by brlawyer

     

    Been there, done that - the latest keynote disaster was just another ominous sign of things to come under Cook's socially activist leadership. It's time for the Board to step up and find another person; Cook should be moved back to what he does best: supply chain and absolutely nothing else, so as to at least rectify some of the terrible mistakes re availability of recently "launched" devices like the Macbook.

     



     

    I've got no problems with what appears to be reasonably altruistic activism. But if you want to change the world, remember what gives you the opportunity to sacrifice profit: You banked a lot of profit before. Profit begetting/enabling activism is not inherently a virtuous cycle. You have to keep making money over the long term to have the luxury to change the world. But they're obviously doing fine for the time being.

  • Reply 20 of 24
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    The images displayed aren't false, indeed they'll exist in three of the four services packaged under Apple Music. (Radio, Connect, Store, but not Stream.)
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