Apple Music reaches streaming deal with indie labels under Merlin, Beggars Group

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited June 2015
A report late Tuesday claims Apple has inked last-minute streaming deals with independent record labels under the umbrellas of Merlin and Beggars Group, suggesting tracks from the likes of FKA Twigs, Radiohead, M.I.A. and more will be part of Apple Music's debut lineup.


Apple Music microsite advertising features indie artist FKA Twigs.


Citing sources familiar with the matter, Billboard reports both Merlin and Martin Mills' Beggars Group -- and the labels, distributors and artists they represent -- have signed off on Apple Music terms just days before the service is set to launch.

Merlin CEO Charles Caldas seemed amenable to Apple's terms in a memo to group members, saying, "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 development comes a week after Beggars Group issued a press release bemoaning Apple Music's terms and days after Apple's decision to reverse prior policy and pay content owners per-stream royalty fees during Apple Music's promotional 90-day free trial period. Beggars Group owns 4ad, Matador, Rough Trade and XL Recordings.

The company came under fire this week when Taylor Swift made much ado over the loss of income artists would face as a result of Apple's previous terms. After modifying Music's royalty structure, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue spoke to Swift, reporting back that she was "thrilled" with the changes.

"The optics don't look good if Apple backs down to indie labels," Billboard's insider said. "But if they back down to an artist like Taylor Swift, it shows they are sensitive to artist concerns, unlike Spotify, who blew Taylor Swift off when she complained about the free tier."

Apple Music lands on iOS, OS X and Windows on June 30 with human playlist curation, Beats 1 radio and the Connect social network for artists. Following a three-month trial period, users can continue streaming services for $10 per month or $15 per month for families up to six.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    [QUOTE]"The optics don't look good if Apple backs down to indie labels," Billboard's insider said. "But if they back down to an artist like Taylor Swift, it shows they are sensitive to artist concerns, unlike Spotify, who blew Taylor Swift off when she complained about the free tier."
    [/QUOTE]

    That's logical.

    Anyway...

    [IMG ALT=""]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/60299/width/350/height/700[/IMG]
  • Reply 2 of 34
    thepixeldocthepixeldoc Posts: 2,257member
    [B]Taylor the Savior OR Savor the Taylor[/B]

    Taylor Swift Statistics:

    Instagram: 34.8m followers
    Facebook: 71m followers
    Twitter: 59.3m followers

    I wonder how many of Taylor's followers are using an iOS device and how many will jump on Apple Music within a week?

    ...meanwhile back at the Guardian reporting on The Music Farm:
    [I]Record companies and trade bodies in the UK, the US, Germany, France and Australia piled in and said they were not doing deals with Apple until it agreed to pay them during the free trials. Collectively, the protesting labels – which included Beggars Group, home to Adele and Britain’s largest indie – represented about a quarter of the global market. Not to have Swift’s album 1989 on Apple Music, when it launches at the end of the month, is one thing;[B] to be missing tens of millions of songs from independent acts is a whole other matter. [/B]
    [/I]

    Good to see that Apple buckled under the pressure to Taylor Swift's Open Letter and didn't consider anything else in their decision to relent /s

    In the end... I'm going with [B]Savor the Taylor[/B] here... because D*MN that girl is photogenic! :smokey:

    [IMG ALT=""]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/60301/width/800/height/1000[/IMG]
  • Reply 3 of 34
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    According to Rene Ritchie on MacBreak Weekly there was not universal agreement inside Apple to not pay during this trial period and it allegedly was debated up until the very last minute.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    Taylor the Savior OR Savor the Taylor

    Taylor Swift Statistics:

    Instagram: 34.8m followers
    Facebook: 71m followers
    Twitter: 59.3m followers

    I wonder how many of Taylor's followers are using an iOS device and how many will jump on Apple Music within a week?

    ...meanwhile back at the Guardian reporting on The Music Farm:
    Record companies and trade bodies in the UK, the US, Germany, France and Australia piled in and said they were not doing deals with Apple until it agreed to pay them during the free trials. Collectively, the protesting labels – which included Beggars Group, home to Adele and Britain’s largest indie – represented about a quarter of the global market. Not to have Swift’s album 1989 on Apple Music, when it launches at the end of the month, is one thing; to be missing tens of millions of songs from independent acts is a whole other matter.


    Good to see that Apple buckled under the pressure to Taylor Swift's Open Letter and didn't consider anything else in their decision to relent /s

    In the end... I'm going with Savor the Taylor here... because D*MN that girl is photogenic! :smokey:

    1000

    IMHO, Apple and Taylor Swift played this PR campaign masterfully.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,296member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    According to Rene Ritchie on MacBreak Weekly there was not universal agreement inside Apple to not pay during this trial period and it allegedly was debated up until the very last minute.



    I trust Ritchie. He has inside connections and is usually right about stuff concerning Apple. And he is a good counterpoint to Leo LaPorte’s constant criticism of Apple. I watch MacBreak Weekly religiously.

  • Reply 6 of 34
    thepixeldocthepixeldoc Posts: 2,257member
    rogifan wrote: »
    According to Rene Ritchie on MacBreak Weekly there was not universal agreement inside Apple to not pay during this trial period and it allegedly was debated up until the very last minute.

    As you know since you've been following this closely, I'm going to lay the idea of NOT paying during the trial on the Bean-Counter Brigade. That is of course after re-thinking my conspiracy theory ;)

    I've have had more run-ins with those spreadsheet jockeys in my career than I can count.

    I really... really... REALLY passionately... um... detest them! :mad:
  • Reply 7 of 34
    am8449am8449 Posts: 343member

    What's the rationale behind artists getting paid during the trial period?

     

    Apple doesn't make money during the trial period, so why should artists expect to? The way I see it, Apple and the artists are jointly enticing users to subscribe to Apple Music with the free trial period, so shouldn't both parties take on that promotion/risk?

     

    Feel free to correct me if my logic is wrong or missing something.

  • Reply 8 of 34
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    lkrupp wrote: »

    I trust Ritchie. He has inside connections and is usually right about stuff concerning Apple. And he is a good counterpoint to Leo LaPorte’s constant criticism of Apple. I watch MacBreak Weekly religiously.

    Yeah and I got the impression Andy Ihnatkho was hearing similar things. Good to get perspective from Alex Lindsey too as he used to work for Sony. Unfortunately the record labels are being made out to be the bad guys even though most artists probably couldn't survive without them. Especially ones who aren't well established big names that make all their money from touring and merchandise.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     



    I trust Ritchie. He has inside connections and is usually right about stuff concerning Apple. And he is a good counterpoint to Leo LaPorte’s constant criticism of Apple. I watch MacBreak Weekly religiously.




    How can you put up with Andy Ihnatko? lol.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by am8449 View Post

     

    What's the rationale behind artists getting paid during the trial period?

     

    Apple doesn't make money during the trial period, so why should artists expect to? The way I see it, Apple and the artists are jointly enticing users to subscribe to Apple Music with the free trial period, so shouldn't both parties take on that promotion/risk?

     

    Feel free to correct me if my logic is wrong or missing something.




    You're not wrong. That's the way Apple initially see it. But it's not worth fighting when media just lazily quote "not paying" and try to smear your image.

    I think what make Apple turn around is indie labels, Taylor Swift *and* the outcry in Apple community.

  • Reply 10 of 34
    am8449 wrote: »
    What's the rationale behind artists getting paid during the trial period?

    Apple doesn't make money during the trial period, so why should artists expect to? The way I see it, Apple and the artists are jointly enticing users to subscribe to Apple Music with the free trial period, so shouldn't both parties take on that promotion/risk?

    Feel free to correct me if my logic is wrong or missing something.

    Because Taylor Swift's biggest concern is her pocketbook and the indies can't think more than five minutes into the future.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    thepixeldocthepixeldoc Posts: 2,257member
    Actually... after giving it the whole charades another (very quick!) thought... I'm tending towards saying it was a little bit of both:

    a) the bean-counters getting in the way;
    and
    b) the strategy of letting the artists/labels play ball and see how far they hit it.

    If the artists DON'T kick up a storm... Apple bean-counters win.

    If they DO... Apple still wins because then they get all of them on board (no way out now) and can say as Eddy did(!), "We LOVE musicians! Look... we heard you and we're gonna pay because we want to be fair with you guys".

    I see Apple win/win here... because no matter what they would've done, they would've been raked through the mud in the media as they always are, and their prepared for that. As well as probably had a lawsuit and DOJ inquiry on their desk the next morning.

    Eddy: "Oh. Good Morning Mr. Blueberry. How can I help you"... just wasn't an option.
  • Reply 12 of 34
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    am8449 wrote: »
    What's the rationale behind artists getting paid during the trial period?

    Apple doesn't make money during the trial period, so why should artists expect to? The way I see it, Apple and the artists are jointly enticing users to subscribe to Apple Music with the free trial period, so shouldn't both parties take on that promotion/risk?

    Feel free to correct me if my logic is wrong or missing something.

    It wasn't the artists decision to offer a 3 month trial. And there's no hard evidence to suggest people using the 3 month trial will convert to paid subscribers. For all we know after the trial they'll go back to "free" Spotify or Pandora. Considering the number of people who aren't paid subscribers dwarfs those who are I think it's pretty clear that people just don't want to pay for content if there's a free alternative. Google just announced a free, ad supported tier to their music service. Online pay walls have never been successful. Most people take WSJ URLs and paste them into Google search to get around the paywall. Apple News isn't going to be subscription based its all ad based. The biggest selling apps on the App Store are either free or super cheap. Maybe Apple Music will turn this trend around but I have my doubts.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Because Taylor Swift's biggest concern is her pocketbook and the indies can't think more than five minutes into the future.

    Considering it was hotly debated inside of Apple up until the last minute and they quickly did a 180 it's not as simple as you're making it out to be. There's no guarantee that this free trial is going to convert millions of people into paid subscribers. For all we know the people trying out Apple Music will just revert to Pandora and Spotify once the free trial is over.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Actually... after giving it the whole charades another (very quick!) thought... I'm tending towards saying it was a little bit of both:

    a) the bean-counters getting in the way;
    and
    b) the strategy of letting the artists/labels play ball and see how far they hit it.

    If the artists DON'T kick up a storm... Apple bean-counters win.

    If they DO... Apple still wins because then they get all of them on board (no way out now) and can say as Eddy did(!), "We LOVE musicians! Look... we heard you and we're gonna pay because we want to be fair with you guys".

    I see Apple win/win here... because no matter what they would've done, they would've been raked through the mud in the media as they always are, and their prepared for that. As well as probably had a lawsuit and DOJ inquiry on their desk the next morning.

    Eddy: "Oh. Good Morning Mr. Blueberry. How can I help you"... just wasn't an option.

    This is probably right. Or at least those arguing in favor of not paying would pitch it this way. I'm still not sure it was a 'win' for Apple. Someone who used to be a high up at Pandora tweeted that this was all theater and Apple isn't doing anything that the other services aren't already doing as they all pay during free trials. I actually agree with Jon Fortt who said on CNBC with spending $3B on Beats and getting Jimmy Iovine on board this stuff shouldn't be happening. Or at least the way the sausage gets made shouldn't be airing in public like this.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    am8449am8449 Posts: 343member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    It wasn't the artists decision to offer a 3 month trial. And there's no hard evidence to suggest people using the 3 month trial will convert to paid subscribers. For all we know after the trial they'll go back to "free" Spotify or Pandora. Considering the number of people who aren't paid subscribers dwarfs those who are I think it's pretty clear that people just don't want to pay for content if there's a free alternative. Google just announced a free, ad supported tier to their music service. Online pay walls have never been successful. Most people take WSJ URLs and paste them into Google search to get around the paywall. Apple News isn't going to be subscription based its all ad based. The biggest selling apps on the App Store are either free or super cheap. Maybe Apple Music will turn this trend around but I have my doubts.

     

    I see what you're saying and agree that many people like their free stuff and aren't willing to pay.

     

    My question is: in this free trial period arrangement, why should Apple be bearing all of the risk of offering it, while the artists don't? They're in this venture together—Apple needs the artists' music to sell devices, the artists need Apple's platform to reach their audience. So what's the rationale for Apple to concede to paying the artists during this trial period, from a business perspective?

  • Reply 16 of 34
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post





    Because Taylor Swift's biggest concern is her pocketbook and the indies can't think more than five minutes into the future.

     

    Please, tell me more about the inner workings of the Beggars Group.

  • Reply 17 of 34
    thedbathedba Posts: 479member
    am8449 wrote: »
    I see what you're saying and agree that many people like their free stuff and aren't willing to pay.

    My question is: in this free trial period arrangement, why should Apple be bearing all of the risk of offering it, while the artists don't? They're in this venture together—Apple needs the artists' music to sell devices, the artists need Apple's platform to reach their audience. So what's the rationale for Apple to concede to paying the artists during this trial period, from a business perspective?
    Just think if Walmart wants to break into a new market and says to all its suppliers and employees, for the next three months I'll be giving your stuff for free and no one gets paid.
    Why should its suppliers and employees go along with that? Would you, if put in their situation?
  • Reply 18 of 34
    krreagankrreagan Posts: 218member

    ... so now Apple takes 100% of the risk in this new adventure instead of the artists sharing (very little) in the risk... Even though both would profit in the long run if AM takes off. This looks like the music industry is betting on AM failing. 

     

    Again, Apple takes _all_ the risk, the artists/labels take none of the risk.. and Hypocrite Swift comes out squeaky clean.

  • Reply 19 of 34
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,296member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

     



    How can you put up with Andy Ihnatko? lol.

     

     


     

    It’s a constant challenge. He tries to come off as above it all but he is constantly waving his Android phone in the air exclaiming how it suits his needs more than iOS, much like the fAndroids here on AI always do. The show is pretty much Alex Lindsay and Rene Ritchie against Leo LaPorte and Andy Ihnatko. When Serenity Caldwell is a guest she pretty much pwns Leo when he asks stupid questions.

  • Reply 20 of 34
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

     When Serenity Caldwell is a guest she pretty much pwns Leo when he asks stupid questions.


     

    lol. I love to listen to that.

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