Songwriters & publishers 'fundamental' to Apple Music, says publishing exec Elena Segal

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Apple Music's Global Director of Music Publishing, Elena Segal, reiterated Apple's hardline stance on songwriter and publisher royalties in a new interview, calling those parties "fundamental" to the service's ecosystem.

Elena Segal


"Songwriters and publishers shouldn't be an afterthought; I think some services do consider them a sort of afterthought, or an inconvenience," Sagal told Music Business Worldwide. "They are not an inconvenience at Apple. They are a fundamental part of the ecosystem."

The director's comments come in reaction to appeals by Amazon, Google, Pandora, and Spotify against higher royalties for songwriters sought by the Copyright Royalty Board. Apple deliberately refused to appeal, even though it could mean paying millions more in royalties each year.

"The concept of a sustainable business model, while supporting the creative ecosystem, is fundamentally important to us. That differentiates us from other services anyway, but our position on the CRB has further differentiated us," Segal said. "With the position we've taken on the CRB, that type of stance isn't actually new. Apple has been fighting for over a decade to make sure that money flows and songwriters get paid. We've definitely done way more than anyone else on that kind of thing. We just haven't shouted about it."

The key premise is that "without songwriting and publishing, there is no music," she elaborated.

Going into the future, Segal argued that "greater agreement is needed on mechanical and performing rights splits." As things stand there are different splits per format, such as downloads versus on-demand streaming, and these can vary again based on the countries a service operates in. Complicating matters further are conflicts between publishers and regional collecting socities.

The director added that "perfect [song meta]data" is needed to prevent payments from getting held up, since simple typos made in manual entry systems can wreck the flow of cash.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    larz2112larz2112 Posts: 284member
    As a musician, songwriter, and ASCAP member, it is very encouraging to see these words spoken by Segal, and I commend Apple for not appealing the increased royalties for songwriters proposed by the Copyright Royalty Board, even thought I think their motivation is in part self-serving. Apple knows that the majority of the competition does not have deep enough pockets to pay higher royalties, and would most likely go out of business. Regardless of the motivation, I am still glad that Apple is on the side of increasing the currently paltry music royalties paid to songwriters and publishers.

    In regards to the overall landscape of music royalty payments significantly improving, as the sayings go, "Actions speak louder than words", and "I'll beleive it when I see it".
    Andy.Hardwake
  • Reply 2 of 5
    Enabling creatives is a familiar pattern from Apple. While people bemoan Apple's prices, the technological equivalents before them cost significantly more. 

    A very simple example is the iPad + Apple pencil for on-screen drawing. An equivalent product from Wacom had cost many times more, prior to Apple there was no alternative option and this level of creative freedom was pretty much limited to large agencies and studios.
    Now also consider that the wacom solution was not portable, included a mess of cabling and with inferior colour reproduction.
    For consideration is the same with music production, software development, even writing - the pattern is completely obvious and it's why people have stuck with the brand.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    larz2112 said:
    As a musician, songwriter, and ASCAP member, it is very encouraging to see these words spoken by Segal, and I commend Apple for not appealing the increased royalties for songwriters proposed by the Copyright Royalty Board, even thought I think their motivation is in part self-serving. Apple knows that the majority of the competition does not have deep enough pockets to pay higher royalties, and would most likely go out of business. Regardless of the motivation, I am still glad that Apple is on the side of increasing the currently paltry music royalties paid to songwriters and publishers.

    In regards to the overall landscape of music royalty payments significantly improving, as the sayings go, "Actions speak louder than words", and "I'll beleive it when I see it".
    +1 from a music producer / BMI affiliate.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    doctwelvedoctwelve Posts: 26member
    larz2112 said:
    As a musician, songwriter, and ASCAP member, it is very encouraging to see these words spoken by Segal, and I commend Apple for not appealing the increased royalties for songwriters proposed by the Copyright Royalty Board, even thought I think their motivation is in part self-serving. Apple knows that the majority of the competition does not have deep enough pockets to pay higher royalties, and would most likely go out of business. Regardless of the motivation, I am still glad that Apple is on the side of increasing the currently paltry music royalties paid to songwriters and publishers.

    In regards to the overall landscape of music royalty payments significantly improving, as the sayings go, "Actions speak louder than words", and "I'll beleive it when I see it".
    Really? Bezos is the richest man in the world. Amazon could absolutely afford to pay more but don't. While I believe Apple is in business to make money, I also am a little less cynical about their motivations and think they appreciate the work artists do and want them compensated. Jobs valued art and design over business and that's part of the fabric of who Apple still is. 
  • Reply 5 of 5
    larz2112larz2112 Posts: 284member
    doctwelve said:
    larz2112 said:
    As a musician, songwriter, and ASCAP member, it is very encouraging to see these words spoken by Segal, and I commend Apple for not appealing the increased royalties for songwriters proposed by the Copyright Royalty Board, even thought I think their motivation is in part self-serving. Apple knows that the majority of the competition does not have deep enough pockets to pay higher royalties, and would most likely go out of business. Regardless of the motivation, I am still glad that Apple is on the side of increasing the currently paltry music royalties paid to songwriters and publishers.

    In regards to the overall landscape of music royalty payments significantly improving, as the sayings go, "Actions speak louder than words", and "I'll beleive it when I see it".
    Really? Bezos is the richest man in the world. Amazon could absolutely afford to pay more but don't. While I believe Apple is in business to make money, I also am a little less cynical about their motivations and think they appreciate the work artists do and want them compensated. Jobs valued art and design over business and that's part of the fabric of who Apple still is. 
    I said, "the majority of the competition". You cherry picked one example that I would not consider part of the majority. Obviously Amazon and YouTube have deep enough pockets, but higher royalties could possibly put Spotify, Pandora, and some of the other less profitable streaming services out of business. Less competition is always a good thing. And it is also a good PR move on Apple's part to not appeal the higher proposed higher royalty rates, for obvious reasons. It makes them seem much more benevolent than their competition.

    Also, I said that I think Apple's motivation is "in part self-serving", meaning I think they are motivated to better both themselves as well as music creators and publishers by supporting higher royalty payments. Their decision not to appeal is not 100% benevolent in my opinion. I am not sure why you would consider that cynical, especially considering the fact that you state yourself that you believe Apple is in business to make money. 
    edited June 3
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