Artists claim Apple pays in goods instead of cash for Today at Apple sessions

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 14
Apple has come under fire for failing to pay artists taking part in the Apple Store's Today at Apple sessions in San Francisco, after it was discovered participants were offered a free Apple product instead of receiving an appearance fee from the retail outlet.




The Today at Apple sessions provide a way for visitors to the Apple Store to see performances and discussions by artists and creative individuals. While potentially offering a number of benefits to those taking part, some artists are dissatisfied at their treatment by the iPhone maker, especially concerning how they are compensated for their appearance.

Artists taking part in the in-store events are not paid, according to a report from KQED, with eleven artists confirming no monetary compensation is offered by Apple at all for events in San Francisco. Compensation was provided, but in the form of goods, with the choice of AirPods, an Apple TV, or an Apple Watch Series 3 on offer.

It is thought that the practice has been occurring for quite some time, as Counter Culture Group founder Victor Valle advised of two artists who performed at the Union Square store in 2017, in exchange for an Apple Watch. At the same time, Valle believes the opportunity is good for artists at first glance. "This may feel like it's going to be the break for you, like, 'Oh man, we're doings something with Apple!" suggests the creative agency founder.

Valle declined further offers from Apple to book clients, noting there is "no return" for artists spending time and money making a show in that situation. "You take a hit financially trying to get a band together, pay your members, pay your way out to the store or even park in the ares," he adds.

The relative lack of promotion of an artist's event by Apple itself is also considered a problem for those taking part. The lack of official Today at Apple social media accounts and the simple listing of upcoming events on the Apple Store's page offers little marketing, but while Apple does provide digital assets in the form of "Instagram-ready flyers" the artists could post to their own social media accounts, the flyers also reuse the artists' existing promotional images.

A lack of a photographer to document one poetry reading was also seen as a misstep by playwright Ayodele Nzinga, who suggests the addition would have made working for trade a more worthwhile prospect for the event.

Vanessa Nguyen, a visual artist and producer known as Besame, enquired with Apple about potential monetary compensation, but was informed "all they could do was give product out." In that event, her creative collective Le Vanguard received a number of Apple TVs and an iPad.

Most of the artists contacted for the report believe Apple should pay for artistic labor if it truly values it, or to provide a sufficient level of promotion for the artists.

Apple was recently criticized for seemingly taking advantage of creative work, in its "Shot on iPhone" challenge. The original terms of the competition had Apple using winning images on billboards and in stores, but only offered exposure as the prize, a mistake Apple rectified quickly by offering to pay a licensing fee to winners.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    simply258simply258 Posts: 106member
    It's totally fair, Apple offers and artists are free to accept or decline.
    larryjwAppleExposedentropyspbruttoracerhomie3SpamSandwichHenryDJPItsDeCiacoolfactorpscooter63
  • Reply 2 of 47
    wattoukwattouk Posts: 31member
    I don't get how apple can be the bad guys here. If you're stupid enough to do something without a written contract stating a fee, then its your own fault.
    racerhomie3coolfactorGeorgeBMacbshankmac_dogjony0
  • Reply 3 of 47
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,690unconfirmed, member
    As an artist, sign me up!

    Remember artists almost exclusively use Apple. iPads, Macs, iPhones, These are things they NEED.

    Edit:
    Seems they only offered them AirPods, AppleTV or an Apple Watch? Maybe they weren't big enough artists but I doubt the producer for famous rap group Wu-Tang(RZA) wasn't offered an iMac or something as large due to his importance and level of fame.
    edited March 14 pbruttopulseimages
  • Reply 4 of 47
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,897member
    Agree to do something under one set of conditions, then bitch about it afterwards? 

    Sounds like they were paid more than they were worth. An Apple Watch would be worth a lot more than a cash payment.

    Also so not worth repeat business for any Valle clients.
    edited March 14 pbruttoAppleExposedcoolfactorpscooter63GeorgeBMacbshankurahara
  • Reply 5 of 47
    pigybankpigybank Posts: 169member
    Did somebody force them to accept the offer and appear?
    SpamSandwichchasmcoolfactorpscooter63GeorgeBMacbshankuraharapulseimagesdanhjony0
  • Reply 6 of 47
    It does not appear these artists came out and complained.  It appears they were interviewed, specifically asked a question, and honestly answered.  Far different than many of these comments are painting the picture.
    chasm
  • Reply 7 of 47
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,527member
    entropys said:
    An Apple Watch would be worth a lot more than a cash payment.
    That's ridiculous. Apple pays in merchandise because the cost is less to them than if they paid cash. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But if an artist wants cash (as in check) then than trying to sell a Watch or Apple TV is probably a waste of their time.

    The real issue is why are these people complaining? It's not like they were promised cash and suddenly it's just Apple swag.

    If they were under the impression that it was a money gig and not a trade of service for products, then maybe Valle is at fault. 

    As with the Shot on iPhone campaign, it looks like the idea is to make Apple look bad for personal gain under the guise of principle.
    AppleExposedchia
  • Reply 8 of 47
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,022member
    If artists agree to exchange their time for an item, then on the face if it, it’s their problem.

    But, in being treated this way, it just perpetuates the idea that the arts is a curiosity, that it doesn’t have any real value, and that it is legitimate to approach an artist and tell them that this will be good for “exposure”.

    Yes, I appreciate that in this case, that artists *are* compensated.

    However for a company which prides itself on its connection with the arts, that has built itself on the back of the arts, and artists, for a company like that to *barter* with those very people... it tells me that they don’t value artists nearly as much as they think they do.

    The person who designed the 5th ave Apple store wasn’t paid in iMacs or ‘exposure’, why should an artist be treated any differently?

    bsimpsenAppleExposedmobirdchiachiaelectrosoft
  • Reply 9 of 47
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,195member
    Did Apple initially offer something and then went back on their word? No? Then what the fuck are they complaining about? They agreed to whatever it is that Apple was offering before performing, then accepted it, then they decide to whine after? If you don't think that whatever you're doing at the Apple Store is worth a free Apple product, then don't accept to do it!

    AppleExposedpscooter63GeorgeBMacuraharadanh
  • Reply 10 of 47
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,983member
    Unfortunately, many are clueless about finances. I’ve worked with a lot of them over the years. If they don’t have an accountant look everything over, they’d be thrown out of their living and working spaces.

    its not true of all, of course, but is of too many. It why they get cheated by galleries and their own management, when they have them.

    i don’t know how Apple presents this to them though. If there’s no contract, then they’re relying on Apple doing what they expect, which is to get paid. But really, they need to ask that first.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 11 of 47
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,511member
    The suggestion here seems to be that Apple is cheating people, which defies all logic.

    Perhaps it’s just this artist’s rep agency who is complaining.

    https://counterculture.group/
    edited March 14 coolfactorGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 12 of 47
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,983member
    djsherly said:
    If artists agree to exchange their time for an item, then on the face if it, it’s their problem.

    But, in being treated this way, it just perpetuates the idea that the arts is a curiosity, that it doesn’t have any real value, and that it is legitimate to approach an artist and tell them that this will be good for “exposure”.

    Yes, I appreciate that in this case, that artists *are* compensated.

    However for a company which prides itself on its connection with the arts, that has built itself on the back of the arts, and artists, for a company like that to *barter* with those very people... it tells me that they don’t value artists nearly as much as they think they do.

    The person who designed the 5th ave Apple store wasn’t paid in iMacs or ‘exposure’, why should an artist be treated any differently?

    I’ll tell you something. Going back many decades, though it’s worse now, artists and photographers have done work that’s called “editorial”. They get a spread in the magazine, but no pay. Sometimes, they’re reinbursed for expenses, and sometimes not. Nothing new there. Many artists and photographers need exposure, and they’re taken advantage of. But that’s up front. They know before they start. What’s worse, and also happens, is that they’re told they’ll get paid, and aren’t. It’s hard to sue. Not enough money is involved, and if they do, others shy away from them. It’s tough.
    AppleExposedGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 13 of 47
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,511member
    melgross said:
    djsherly said:
    If artists agree to exchange their time for an item, then on the face if it, it’s their problem.

    But, in being treated this way, it just perpetuates the idea that the arts is a curiosity, that it doesn’t have any real value, and that it is legitimate to approach an artist and tell them that this will be good for “exposure”.

    Yes, I appreciate that in this case, that artists *are* compensated.

    However for a company which prides itself on its connection with the arts, that has built itself on the back of the arts, and artists, for a company like that to *barter* with those very people... it tells me that they don’t value artists nearly as much as they think they do.

    The person who designed the 5th ave Apple store wasn’t paid in iMacs or ‘exposure’, why should an artist be treated any differently?

    I’ll tell you something. Going back many decades, though it’s worse now, artists and photographers have done work that’s called “editorial”. They get a spread in the magazine, but no pay. Sometimes, they’re reinbursed for expenses, and sometimes not. Nothing new there. Many artists and photographers need exposure, and they’re taken advantage of. But that’s up front. They know before they start. What’s worse, and also happens, is that they’re told they’ll get paid, and aren’t. It’s hard to sue. Not enough money is involved, and if they do, others shy away from them. It’s tough.
    Again, it’s wholly at the option of the artists, illustrator, photographer or writer. As one of the former, I only worked with magazines and agencies which paid. It’s up to the individuals to deal with people who are willing to pay.
    GeorgeBMacbeowulfschmidturahara
  • Reply 14 of 47
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,198member
    The suggestion here seems to be that Apple is cheating people, which defies all logic.

    Perhaps it’s just this artist’s rep agency who is complaining.

    https://counterculture.group/
    Reading the original article, it does sound more like the rep than the artists themselves. The one was just complaining about no links on Apple's website about her project. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 15 of 47
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,690unconfirmed, member
    djsherly said:
    If artists agree to exchange their time for an item, then on the face if it, it’s their problem.

    But, in being treated this way, it just perpetuates the idea that the arts is a curiosity, that it doesn’t have any real value, and that it is legitimate to approach an artist and tell them that this will be good for “exposure”.

    Yes, I appreciate that in this case, that artists *are* compensated.

    However for a company which prides itself on its connection with the arts, that has built itself on the back of the arts, and artists, for a company like that to *barter* with those very people... it tells me that they don’t value artists nearly as much as they think they do.

    The person who designed the 5th ave Apple store wasn’t paid in iMacs or ‘exposure’, why should an artist be treated any differently?


    Apple saved the music industry and is actually paying artists for streams. Go tell all this to Spotify or copy-cats like Goog who don't give a sh** about artists.

    urahara
  • Reply 16 of 47
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,111member
    Baffling...

    Why would artists show up without knowing how they’re going to compensated for their time?  

    Conclusion: A significant number of artists are idiots.
    coolfactorbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 17 of 47
    I often joke that Tim Cook would offer to pay for work with iTunes gift cards. I might not have been too far off.
  • Reply 18 of 47
    melgross said:
    djsherly said:
    If artists agree to exchange their time for an item, then on the face if it, it’s their problem.

    But, in being treated this way, it just perpetuates the idea that the arts is a curiosity, that it doesn’t have any real value, and that it is legitimate to approach an artist and tell them that this will be good for “exposure”.

    Yes, I appreciate that in this case, that artists *are* compensated.

    However for a company which prides itself on its connection with the arts, that has built itself on the back of the arts, and artists, for a company like that to *barter* with those very people... it tells me that they don’t value artists nearly as much as they think they do.

    The person who designed the 5th ave Apple store wasn’t paid in iMacs or ‘exposure’, why should an artist be treated any differently?

    I’ll tell you something. Going back many decades, though it’s worse now, artists and photographers have done work that’s called “editorial”. They get a spread in the magazine, but no pay. Sometimes, they’re reinbursed for expenses, and sometimes not. Nothing new there. Many artists and photographers need exposure, and they’re taken advantage of. But that’s up front. They know before they start. What’s worse, and also happens, is that they’re told they’ll get paid, and aren’t. It’s hard to sue. Not enough money is involved, and if they do, others shy away from them. It’s tough.
    If Apple helped to promote their work it would be more valuable than just getting paid straight cash for the gig. But getting an Apple product isn’t.
  • Reply 19 of 47
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 766member
    It isn't an Apple problem. Talk to a lot of artists, musicians, designers, and such and you'll find that nobody wants to pay them for their work. Apple wouldn't try this if they needed an electrician, or someone to fix the roof, or replace a window. Why do so may people think merch and "exposure" is all an artist needs for all their training and hard work. "Exposure" wont put food on the table or keep a roof over your head. Do you think Apple pays its own designers with an AppleWatch 3? Then why would they do this for an artist they brought in for an event at their stores?
    edited March 14
  • Reply 20 of 47
    iOS_Guy80iOS_Guy80 Posts: 255member
    “A lack of a photographer to document one poetry reading was also seen as a misstep by playwright Ayodele Nzinga, who suggests the addition would have made working for trade a more worthwhile prospect for the event.”
    Hello your in a Apple Store where everyone has a great camera in their pocket with a feature called AirDrop.
    coolfactor
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