Apple looks like it's about to enter the music publishing business

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Apple is reportedly creating a global music publishing division within Apple Music, directed by Elena Segal, previously the legal director for iTunes International.

HomePod and iPhone X


Segal will divide her time between the U.S. and London, England, Music Business Worldwide said on Wednesday. The Music Publishing team is expected to have several sub-divisions, such as Operations, Commercial, Publisher Relations, and A&R. The A&R crew is slated to help develop songwriters, rather than directly sign new talent.

The initiative is said to be the brainchild of Oliver Schusser, who assumed control of Apple Music in April.

"Oliver is well aware that much of the most important artist discovery happening in the music industry today comes from the publishing side of the business," one source explained to MBW.

"He is also aware that record labels and artists are well served by industry relations teams at streaming platforms -- they are in and out of those offices every day -- but that publishing hasn't yet enjoyed that kind of direct relationship," the person continued. "Oliver wants to underline the importance of publishing and songwriters to Apple. That's what this move is all about."

The creation of a publishing division would seem to suggest that Apple could begin publishing music without the need for third parties, assuming artists and others are willing to go along.

Apple has regularly tried to use exclusives to lure people to Apple Music, typically first dibs at new songs and albums by artists like Drake. Nevertheless, Spotify still commands an overwhelming presence in music streaming, with over 75 million paid subscribers versus Apple's 50 million, on top of which Spotify has even more ad-based listeners.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    This could be an interesting test of loyalty to the Big 4 (3 now?). My guess is that if they try to fight though, they'll eventually make themselves irrelevant.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    nunzynunzy Posts: 315member
    Publishing is where the money is. Apple is smart to do this. Once you get the publishing rights, you can make money no matter how the music is used. Nobody knows how to rake in profits like Tim Cook.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 3 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,223member
    I don’t know why they’d want to enter the publishing side, since any artist who is actually concerned about a career in the music business should own their material and act as their own publisher. Artists or bands could always sign with a larger label, like BMG (for example) or split touring and recording costs in exchange for profits from tickets sales or merch sales. It could be more lucrative for Apple to enter the licensing side instead, acting as licensing agent for artists to have their music used in myriad cases, such as movies, commercials, promotions, etc.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    slprescottslprescott Posts: 734member
    This could be an interesting test of loyalty to the Big 4 (3 now?). My guess is that if they try to fight though, they'll eventually make themselves irrelevant.
    By "Big 4", I assume you mean the existing record labels.  I agree with you.

    It'll also be interesting to see how other music streamers -- Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, etc. -- respond.  Will they be hesitant to stream artists who are from the Apple label?

  • Reply 5 of 17
    Cesar Battistini MazieroCesar Battistini Maziero Posts: 96unconfirmed, member
    This could be an interesting test of loyalty to the Big 4 (3 now?). My guess is that if they try to fight though, they'll eventually make themselves irrelevant.
    From what I heard artists saying, they are not that loyal......
  • Reply 6 of 17
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,022member
    This could be an interesting test of loyalty to the Big 4 (3 now?). My guess is that if they try to fight though, they'll eventually make themselves irrelevant.
    By "Big 4", I assume you mean the existing record labels.  I agree with you.

    It'll also be interesting to see how other music streamers -- Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, etc. -- respond.  Will they be hesitant to stream artists who are from the Apple label?

    Nope, Big 4 publishers as well. Universal, Warner/Chappell, Sony ATV, and BMG. There are lots of minor players, but the largest catalogues in the world are held by these companies, and no others come close.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 7 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,127member
    This could be a good move for Apple’s bottom line, but seems like a bad move for music itself if it would mean artists are completely siloed into Apple’s world.

    And now for my rant...

    The quality of music already completely sucks enough presently (and now it’ll suck and additionally be exclusive to certain platforms) with popular authetentic original sounding vocals virtually unheard these days—practically every modern popular artist I can think of puts on a voice that doesn’t seem like their own. Adele, Ed Sheeran—all these guys. Quit hiding behind that stupid thing you’re doing with your voices and reveal yourselves. Teenagers are hypnotised into thinking these guys can sing. This fake singing ain’t real singing. A good barometer of how crappy music is these days is to compare the original ‘we are the world’ to the spoof-like modern version. The emperor’s new clothes. Music is largely in the toilet and has become one large, strange popcorn fest of shit. I’m sure there are artists that are exceptions, but where are all of this generation’s greats? Is there literally even one? It’s very, very sad.
    edited May 30
  • Reply 8 of 17
    FolioFolio Posts: 255member
    If Apple Label was good enough for the Beatles....might still have subliminal pull today
  • Reply 9 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,223member
    ireland said:
    This could be a good move for Apple’s bottom line, but seems like a bad move for music itself if it would mean artists are completely siloed into Apple’s world.

    And now for my rant...

    The quality of music already completely sucks enough presently (and now it’ll suck and additionally be exclusive to certain platforms) with popular authetentic original sounding vocals virtually unheard these days—practically every modern popular artist I can think of puts on a voice that doesn’t seem like their own. Adele, Ed Sheeran—all these guys. Quit hiding behind that stupid thing you’re doing with your voices and reveal yourselves. Teenagers are hypnotised into thinking these guys can sing. This fake singing ain’t real singing. A good barometer of how crappy music is these days is to compare the original ‘we are the world’ to the spoof-like modern version. The emperor’s new clothes. Music is largely in the toilet and has become one large, strange popcorn fest of shit. I’m sure there are artists that are exceptions, but where are all of this generation’s greats? Is there literally even one? It’s very, very sad.
    Going completely off the main thread for a moment, human vocal cords are very flexible and capable of emulating a wide range of sounds and vocal styles. I'm not sure there is such a thing as a "real" vocal style, but I do know what you're talking about. Remember when all female singers were emulating Britney Spears' vocal quirks? Ever listen to country music? A lot of the style of male country singers sound alike. Same with any genre of music. People copy what is popular.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 10 of 17
    ireland said:
    ...every modern popular artist I can think of puts on a voice that doesn’t seem like their own. Adele, Ed Sheeran—all these guys. Quit hiding behind that stupid thing you’re doing with your voices and reveal yourselves. Teenagers are hypnotised into thinking these guys can sing. This fake singing ain’t real singing.
    * apologies that this was posted from Safari on a Mac, which strips out all of the returns after each paragraph - next time I'll post from my Windows laptop ;) This is a curious question, given the examples you cite. Adele and Ed Sheeran are "fake"? I can understand your label of "fake" when pointing out the numerous artists who use vocoders and overly precise auto-tune processing to cover up their inability to carry a tune. But even some "great" artists have experimented with creating an entirely artificial sound for their voice, so it may not be so obvious who falls into the group of "fakes" vs those who are simply pushing the boundaries of popular sound in their music. Adele and Ed Sheeran have both recorded a number of "unplugged" tracks, so how do you define this "fake" quality? Even the very best singers have a "singing voice" that sounds very different from their natural "speaking voice", so putting aside audio processing in the studio, what is it about their performances that crosses a line in your ears into "fakery"? When a singer is performing, by its very nature, the singer is changing their voice to sound different than it would if they were sitting at a table in front of you - the intonation, or the way they pronounce certain words or phrases, is part of the artistry of how a song is performed. You specifically mention the voices of the artists themselves, so let's put aside overly-produced songs with thick effects processing that hide the voice of the performer for the purpose of defining "fake". In the numerous "unplugged" tracks one can find with Adele or Ed Sheeran singing with a simple guitar or piano track, do they still sound "fake" to your ears? Or is this "fake" quality just a matter of whether some of their intonation sounds overly affected or "stressed"? And how do you define a "modern popular artist"? Charting on Billboard, or simply alive and kicking with some radio play now and then? Is Annie Lennox in your "fake" group? Listen to the first 70 seconds of Annie Lennox singing, "I Put a Spell On You". Simple piano with some very light percussion, and her voice is right there in front of the mix. This track is not overly produced, so to my ears, Annie's voice sounds very natural here, without any noticeably strange or stressed intonation. According to your criteria, is there anything overly "fake" about Annie's voice on this track? Perhaps if you could share some more details about this "fake" quality, your "rant" would be a more useful critique of modern popular music, at least as you define it.
    edited May 30 sphericradarthekat
  • Reply 11 of 17
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,524member
    Indeed, that’s a rather bizarre contention (no less than the rest of his rant, though). Adele is the one (and only!) singer who refused to pre-tape at MTV Music Awards and preferred performing live and sounding slightly flat. That thing she’s doing with her voice is singing. 

    Here’s a secret: 98% of music has always sucked. 

    It’s just that the stuff we remember and play today from “the good old days” is the 2% that didn’t suck back then. 

    And back then, stuff was much better in the olden days, too. 
    lolliverradarthekat
  • Reply 12 of 17
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,524member
    ^ BTw, that was also posted from Safari in iOS. It retains all formatting; nothing is “stripped” out. 
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 17
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,524member
    ireland said:
    This could be a good move for Apple’s bottom line, but seems like a bad move for music itself if it would mean artists are completely siloed into Apple’s world.

    And now for my rant...

    The quality of music already completely sucks enough presently (and now it’ll suck and additionally be exclusive to certain platforms) with popular authetentic original sounding vocals virtually unheard these days—practically every modern popular artist I can think of puts on a voice that doesn’t seem like their own. Adele, Ed Sheeran—all these guys. Quit hiding behind that stupid thing you’re doing with your voices and reveal yourselves. Teenagers are hypnotised into thinking these guys can sing. This fake singing ain’t real singing. A good barometer of how crappy music is these days is to compare the original ‘we are the world’ to the spoof-like modern version. The emperor’s new clothes. Music is largely in the toilet and has become one large, strange popcorn fest of shit. I’m sure there are artists that are exceptions, but where are all of this generation’s greats? Is there literally even one? It’s very, very sad.
    Going completely off the main thread for a moment, human vocal cords are very flexible and capable of emulating a wide range of sounds and vocal styles. I'm not sure there is such a thing as a "real" vocal style, but I do know what you're talking about. Remember when all female singers were emulating Britney Spears' vocal quirks? Ever listen to country music? A lot of the style of male country singers sound alike. Same with any genre of music. People copy what is popular.
    Also: people become popular if they sound like something else that’s en vogue at the time. 

    Can’t all be James Blunt (whom I appreciate but really, really cannot listen to). 
  • Reply 14 of 17
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,699member
    Yeah, you just keep diversifying yourselves, Apple. I'm sure that will work out really great for everyone when you're spread so thin that the identity of the company is more "conglomerate" than computer/mobile maker. Quality will just keep sliding.

    What was the first thing Jobs did when he went back to Apple? He thinned out the mess of products and services that were leaving the company unfocused. He's not coming back a third time. 
  • Reply 15 of 17
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,524member
    Yeah. iPhone, iPad, iTunes Music, movie rentals, and Apple TV would never have happened under Jobs. 
    radarthekat
  • Reply 16 of 17
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 2,746member

    Apple will be an independent label!!

    I'm sure it would raise concerns about exclusives and stuff, but in the end it is no different from HBO, Netflix or Disney having their own app.

    Apple Music Publishing will be the content and Apple Music will be the app to consume the music.


    I'm sure Apple won't restrict the music to just their ecosystem. However, I'm not sure how many other streaming services would be bothered to use the content.

    It would depend on the artist and how popular they are. With most of the big names tied to the big publishers, Apple would have to start from scratch, unless they put real money into it and buy whole catalogues from the others.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 17
    claire1claire1 Posts: 83unconfirmed, member
    With Dre and Iovine, I've been saying it for years....

    Apple Records.

    All genres and all kinds of artists sharing ideas under one roof. No negotiations just the greatest artists in the world making music together.
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