Apple is going to offer users a three-month trial for its new Apple Music streaming service. That’s good. However, Apple will not pay the artists for any music streamed during that time. That’s not just bad, it’s downright wrong.
Apple is taking a risk by starting the streaming service, but it seems that it’s the musicians that are being asked to pay the price. That doesn’t seem right to me. If it’s Apple’s risk, it should be Apple paying.
I know a lot of people talk about the promotion artists will get, but you can’t ask someone to work for free. People ask me to write articles for them all the time, and then tell me, “we don’t pay, but you’ll get tons of exposure.”
Sorry, exposure doesn’t pay the bills.
While there are artist that can take the hit, like Taylor Swift, there are a lot of artists that just can’t afford this. What’s more they shouldn’t have to even consider it as an option.
According to Apple’s Robert Kondrk on Re/Code:
In the U.S., Apple will pay music owners 71.5 percent of Apple Music’s subscription revenue. Outside the U.S., the number will fluctuate, but will average around 73 percent, he told Re/code in an interview.
Apple won’t pay music owners anything for the songs that are streamed during Apple Music’s three-month trial period, a bone of contention with music labels during negotiations for the new service. But Kondrk says Apple’s payouts are a few percentage points higher than the industry standard, in part to account for the lengthy trial period; most paid subscription services offer a free one-month trial.
In that same article, Spotify shot back at Apple, saying:
Spotify spokesman Jonathan Prince points out that Apple offers its own free music via its iTunes Radio service, and will offer more via the Beats 1 radio service that it will launch alongside its paid service; Apple will pay music owners a much lower fee for music streamed on those options, which don’t allow them to call up songs on demand. Says Prince: “We pay royalties on every single listen, including trial offers and our mobile free custom radio service, and that adds up to approximately 70 percent of our total revenues, as it always has.”
I am disappointed in Apple. If the company feels so strongly that someone shouldn’t be paid for the three-month trial, why don’t the top ten executives at the company give up their salaries, bonuses, and stock for three months and pay the artists instead.
That should be enough to keep Apple music going.