Despite big licensing wins, names like The Beatles, Prince & Garth Brooks absent from Apple Music

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited July 2015
Apple Music has turned around many artists who previously opposed streaming --?Radiohead's In Rainbows made its subscription debut on the service, for instance --?but there are still a number of notable holdouts, including Apple favorite The Beatles.




The Beatles are a surprising omission, given that Apple fought for years to make their music available on iTunes, where it remains today. There's no word on why they were left out, but it's worth noting that most of former Beatles bassist Paul McCartney's recent catalog is also conspicuously absent.

Joining John, Paul, George, and Ringo on the outside, as noted by Macworld, are superstars like Prince and Garth Brooks. With limited and rare exception, they've never offered content for streaming on any service, earning veto power thanks to their long and successful careers.

It is possible that Apple might eventually sway Prince's opinion in the same way they did with Brian Johnson of AC/DC and Thom Yorke of Radiohead. Apple Music is thought to pay around 1.5 percentage points more than competitors like Spotify, and does not offer a free tier that some artists believe devalues their music.

Apple already holds considerable sway in the music industry thanks to the colossal success of iTunes, and the addition of label heavyweight Jimmy Iovine and rapper Dr. Dre --?whose The Chronic, widely considered the greatest rap album in history, also made its streaming debut on Apple Music --?only deepens its influence.

The company deftly avoided a potential catastrophe in the run-up to Apple Music's launch when it reversed an earlier decision not to pay royalties during the three-month trial period. This prompted angry responses from independent labels that represent the likes of Adele and Jack White as well as a blog smackdown from pop megastar Taylor Swift.

They both came around quickly after Apple relented, and Apple Music is now the only streaming service that offers Swift's blockbuster 1989 album. It's not clear why other artists like Prince continue to withhold their discographies, but at least for the moment Apple is still fighting in the same war as Spotify.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    I wonder how much Beats Radio will affect the success of Apple Music. I suspect BR1 (and more to come) will be hugely successful. An important part of Apple Music is music discovery for its customers and a exposure for musicians. So far I really like what I see and hear but I suspect the make or break ultimately lies with people half my age.

    Edit: Option/Shift-k no longer works for apple icons?

    And - I agree with wood1208 below
  • Reply 2 of 34
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,758member
    Everyone who seems absent from the Apple music initial lunch time will come around and join in time.
  • Reply 3 of 34

    Apple should just buy the Beatles. /s

  • Reply 4 of 34
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    "Steve Jobs favorite The Beatles" would be more apt.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,724member
    AppleInsider headline: "Apple Music is half empty!!!"
  • Reply 6 of 34
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,584member
    " It's not clear why other artists like Prince continue to withhold their discographies, but at least for the moment Apple is still fighting in the same war as Spotify."

    Of course it's clear! They realize what a horrible business model all-you-can-eat streaming subscriptions are for the artists! Why in the world would they want to hurt their catalogue sales for just fractions of a cent? This model will destroy a lot of the industry, and severely hurt the artists.
  • Reply 7 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wood1208 View Post



    Everyone who seems absent from the Apple music initial lunch time will come around and join in time.

    When they get hungry? <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 8 of 34
    Is Garth Brooks still contractually obligated to release his music through Walmart? Maybe that contract causes a problem for him to do things in new, different ways.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    freerange wrote: »
    "
    Of course it's clear! They realize what a horrible business model all-you-can-eat streaming subscriptions are for the artists! Why in the world would they want to hurt their catalogue sales for just fractions of a cent? This model will destroy a lot of the industry, and severely hurt the artists.

    How is this model worse than having their music played on terrestrial radio, which is a similar all-you-can-eat plan and doesn't cost the listener any money?
  • Reply 10 of 34
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    freerange wrote: »
    " It's not clear why other artists like Prince continue to withhold their discographies, but at least for the moment Apple is still fighting in the same war as Spotify."

    Of course it's clear! They realize what a horrible business model all-you-can-eat streaming subscriptions are for the artists! Why in the world would they want to hurt their catalogue sales for just fractions of a cent? This model will destroy a lot of the industry, and severely hurt the artists.

    So a better solution is to just have people pirate music like they did with Napster? The music industry cannot ignore reality. This is what a lot of people want and they need to find a way to make it work. Getting rid of streaming isn't going to make people start buying albums again.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    hillstoneshillstones Posts: 1,490member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by IHateScreenNames View Post





    How is this model worse than having their music played on terrestrial radio, which is a similar all-you-can-eat plan and doesn't cost the listener any money?

    More money is made through paid advertising on the radio, than streaming services.

  • Reply 12 of 34
    hillstoneshillstones Posts: 1,490member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    So a better solution is to just have people pirate music like they did with Napster? The music industry cannot ignore reality. This is what a lot of people want and they need to find a way to make it work. Getting rid of streaming isn't going to make people start buying albums again.

    Why would anyone pirate music they already own?  Fans of the Beatles, Garth Brooks, Prince, and any other artist not on the service already own either the CDs or digital downloads.  They do not have to pay a monthly fee to rent music they already own.  Fans of music prefer to buy music rather than rent it.  I prefer to buy CDs of my favorite artists because I can choose to add the music to iTunes in a higher quality AAC or a Lossless format for my iPod.  At home I can listen to the CD or the lossless format without listening to a degraded quality format provided by a streaming service.  Even Apple's competitors offer streaming services in a higher quality format.  Since you mentioned 'albums', you do realize that vinyl is making a huge comeback since vinyl always sounded better than CD.  Even current artists are releasing their new stuff on vinyl.

  • Reply 13 of 34
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Nice writing, Sam.

    How is this model worse than having their music played on terrestrial radio, which is a similar all-you-can-eat plan and doesn't cost the listener any money?

    Many reasons come to mind:
    • Audio quality
    • Skipping songs
    • Repeating songs
    • Being able to create highly personalized playlists
    • Built-in temp, local storage
    • Advertisement-free

    rogifan wrote: »
    So a better solution is to just have people pirate music like they did with Napster? The music industry cannot ignore reality. This is what a lot of people want and they need to find a way to make it work. Getting rid of streaming isn't going to make people start buying albums again.

    Of course not, but they have to weigh their profit and loss options on a case by case basis. It's not out of the question and certainly expected that there would be some holdouts, perhaps even perpetually as different musician have different fans that treat music in different ways. Meaning, a business manner could* crunch the numbers for one musician to find that it does make financial sense to be on Apple Music, and that same business manager could* crunch the numbers for another musician and say that it's not.

    * Not saying that has happened, just pointing out a couple of the many variables not presented as reasons for potential holdouts.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Many reasons come to mind:
    • Audio quality
    • Skipping songs
    • Repeating songs
    • Being able to create highly personalized playlists
    • Built-in temp, local storage
    • Advertisement-free

    I think you may have misread my post. I was asking why streaming was bad for the artist, as FreeRange is saying. You listed a bunch of reasons why it's good for the listener, and I agree.

    hillstones says more money is paid by terrestrial radio, but I can't find anything that clearly states that. The methods used to figure out licensing rates for terrestrial radio are varied enough and have many levels so it is unclear how much an artist earns when their song is played (and it appears to vary by market).

    I'm just wondering how streaming and radio compare in how much is paid to the artist, since people seem to think streaming is bad.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    I think you may have misread my post. I was asking why streaming was bad for the artist, as FreeRange is saying. You listed a bunch of reasons why it's good for the listener, and I agree.

    hillstones says more money is paid by terrestrial radio, but I can't find anything that clearly states that. The methods used to figure out licensing rates for terrestrial radio are varied enough and have many levels so it is unclear how much an artist earns when their song is played (and it appears to vary by market).

    I'm just wondering how streaming and radio compare in how much is paid to the artist, since people seem to think streaming is bad.

    My bullet points can be taken both ways. Because it's better for the listener it be worse for the musician. If they can do all that they may never buy the album, whereas terrestrial radio has mostly been used as a vehicle to get songs and artists known, so that you'd want to buy the album or song(s) to play at your discretion. It's Beats 1 that is similar to terrestrial radio.
  • Reply 16 of 34
    tleviertlevier Posts: 104member

    With regards to Garth, back in Nov 2014 or so, he launched Ghost Tunes, his own version of Tidal or whatever.  I dunno.  I think it's a store front for his music.  G(arth) Host = Ghost.  So, his absence isn't surprising.

  • Reply 17 of 34
    meteorameteora Posts: 15member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    My bullet points can be taken both ways. Because it's better for the listener it be worse for the musician. If they can do all that they may never buy the album, whereas terrestrial radio has mostly been used as a vehicle to get songs and artists known, so that you'd want to buy the album or song(s) to play at your discretion. It's Beats 1 that is similar to terrestrial radio.


     

    The argument of "we won't sell enough albums" was also used back in the day when there were debates on single-song purchases. Album sales are on the decline. Consumers get it, labels get it, and some - not all - artists get it. Labels already force artists to divide up their hits between albums in many cases, so really the album has been attacked from all angles for years.

    The thing about streaming, that's beautiful for those making money, is that the listener never owns the music. If they want to hear that song they grew up listening to, they better still have a subscription to a service. So, the artist and label may not make as much money right off the bat, but they'll continue making money long after people are done buying albums.. ultimately leading to more potential income than a standard one-time sale would provide. 

     

    Also, the argument about a listener being able to pick and choose what songs to play and how often to play it doesn't hurt the artist. It helps them. That's how they make their money. 

  • Reply 18 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,866member
    Is Garth Brooks still contractually obligated to release his music through Walmart? Maybe that contract causes a problem for him to do things in new, different ways.

    Yes it's all in the pulled pork and beans aisle. ;)
  • Reply 19 of 34
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    freerange wrote: »
    " It's not clear why other artists like Prince continue to withhold their discographies, but at least for the moment Apple is still fighting in the same war as Spotify."

    Of course it's clear! They realize what a horrible business model all-you-can-eat streaming subscriptions are for the artists! Why in the world would they want to hurt their catalogue sales for just fractions of a cent? This model will destroy a lot of the industry, and severely hurt the artists.

    That was true. But once anybody can upload anyone's somg on YouTube there is no going back.
  • Reply 20 of 34
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    meteora wrote: »
    The argument of "we won't sell enough albums" was also used back in the day when there were debates on single-song purchases. Album sales are on the decline. Consumers get it, labels get it, and some - not all - artists get it. Labels already force artists to divide up their hits between albums in many cases, so really the album has been attacked from all angles for years.
    The thing about streaming, that's beautiful for those making money, is that the listener never owns the music. If they want to hear that song they grew up listening to, they better still have a subscription to a service. So, the artist and label may not make as much money right off the bat, but they'll continue making money long after people are done buying albums.. ultimately leading to more potential income than a standard one-time sale would provide. 

    Also, the argument about a listener being able to pick and choose what songs to play and how often to play it doesn't hurt the artist. It helps them. That's how they make their money. 
    Maybe there ought to be a pay scale based on units sold. So if you are a very successful artist (often played) you get paid very little for each play and if you are a little known (rarely played) you get much more. The goal would be for the highly successful very rich artists to subsidize the up and coming artist. I am all for success and rightfully earned riches but also for a little wealth distribution. The important thing is that for the fledgeling artist it is about survival and streaming seems to play into the hands of the very successful only. Just a thought.
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