Apple starting record label?

“We’re working hard to confirm this right now, but several sources seem to be pointing towards the same exciting piece of news: Rapper Jay-Z and and singer Beyonce are in talks with Apple to establish a record label. The rumors place the deal as either close to closed or already executed, with an impending announcement on the horizon. Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Matthew Knowles (Beyonce’s father) will chair the label. If true, this could bring unprecedented power, legitimacy, and experience to Apple’s music division,” Joshua Karp reports for The Boy Genius Report.

“Straight from Def Jam and Beyonce’s label Music World Entertainment, we’re gonna’ have to smash this rumor and put it to rest for now. A source directly involved with both parties who wished to stay anonymous told us, ‘This is the first I’ve ever heard of any of this’ and ‘for the time being this is a rumor,'” Karp reports.

Full article here.
“For the time being…” is hardly a rumor-smashing statement. Note that the February agreement between Apple Inc. and The Beatles’ Apple Corps stated that Apple Inc. will own all of the trademarks related to “Apple” and will license certain of those trademarks back to Apple Corps for their continued use. There do not seem to be any legal issues standing in the way for Apple to become a “record label” if the company so wishes. Eliminate the Middlebronfman!


  1. what the fsck is this about… apple’s music venture a rap label?? is this a joke? (jay-z is anawsome rapper, but the crappy music bieng played now is disgusting, and goes against apple’s “Think Different”… maybe theyll set up for independant artists or indie lables…) this is hardly the way apple goes.

  2. This is actually interesting _if_ the label (Apple Records???–yikes!) existed primarily to sign talent, not create their own music. That way if, say, Green Day was dissatisfied with their current contract, when it ended they could negotiate with the Apple label rather than their current one.

    If that became the case, then Apple would have something there. If they’re looking just to create their own music via Jay-Z, Beyonce and a few others, that’s far less interesting or valuable.

  3. This is definitely a joke.

    Despite the money potential, Steve Jobs is passionate about his work and ONLY releases products/services that he personally loves. Steve Jobs DOES NOT like Rap/R&B. If Apple were to start a label, it would not begin with those genres.

  4. The evidence is that Apple Corps (the old Beatles tax haven) was pretty much bought off in the last round of negotiations (note the change of name from Apple Computer to Apple, Inc). That could have been in anticipation of such a move.

    And while rap is probably not Steve’s favorite genre, I think there’s plenty of evidence that he doesn’t have any disrespect toward any particular musical style, rap or otherwise.

  5. Yeah, why rap? It’s not like there’s a big market for rap. And Apple would never accept any kind of business proposal like this that has a chance to increase their revenue and establish a dominant market position because Steve doesn’t like rap. That’s just common sense.

  6. Not a chance. Apple will not fight Apple records (UK) again, especially by clearly violating their terms. Why would Apple risk their rights to use the name “Apple.”

    If there is any truth to this it would be in the form of a Jobs investment in a new record company. But then why would Jobs do that? Even he may not admit it, but he is a capitalist. Why would he invest in a floundering business model? The only reason would be if he thought he could do it in a revolutionary way, but the most logical thing would be to simply eliminate this increasingly unnecessary middle man.

    How about a record promotion company – all they do is publicity. Basically an Ad agency that is geared toward music. The non record company – record company.

    I bet this is garbage, but it does make one think of what could be. But right now Jobs can’t undercut the record companies because he shoots himself in the foot as the iTunes catalog dries up. Not that he would not love to see the record companies demise, he can’t have his name on it.

  7. I don’t see why this would necessarily be a bad thing. Just because they get Jay-Z and the Knowleses to run it doesn’t mean that it has to be a rap label.

    Look at the range of music produced by the majors. Apple is already a major player in the music biz and could easily form a record label that actually produces music that people that people want to buy, whatever the genre, rather than just churn out cr@p.

    You can’t argue with the fact that Jay-Z, Beyoncé and her father know a bit about the actual production side of the music biz and Apple knows a thing or two about selling music.

  8. Steve DOES love music though. The biggest issue with iTunes now is that labels don’t want to sing long deals. So they become a Label, sign the artists that are getting ripped off by current Labels. The income from iTunes sales stays the same, but only gets split twice. Part to Apple to cover costs and some profit. Some to the artist. Sounds like a good plan to me.

  9. kennyyy921:

    would it have been better if it was a rock or country label? :rolleyes:

    I think IF there was some kind of deal in the works, then it would most likely be to have Apple as the exclusive digital distributor for their own labels or a new joint venture between Roc-A-Fella (Jay-Z’s label) and Music World Entertainment (Beyonce’s label).

    What you all need to understand that many artist nowadays do indeed have their own “labels” and use the majors mostly for distribution. In Hip-Hop this is generally the rule; but more and more Pop, Rock and Jazz artists are doing this as well, and this is probably the biggest influence that the Hip-Hop world has had on the music industry. Jay-Z sold MILLIONS of records worldwide for years before DefJam asked him to run things.

    Hip-Hop had taken the notion of “selling records from the trunk of your car” to a whole new level. Russel Simmons, Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, LA Reid and other music moguls were all DIY’ers before they became the heads of their respective labels (Def Jam, Island, BMG America).

    Before there’s more Hip-Hop dissing here (which is bound to happen, if I know my fellow MDN posters) please consider this: In this time of so-called declining CD sales, the only genres of music that HAVE NOT seen a significant sales decline are Hip-Hop and R&B. If it weren’t for these 2 genres, the music biz would be dying a lot faster than it is already.

    Hip-Hop is a bit like Apple, really: rumors of it’s demise have always been greatly exaggerated. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> The Germans have a great saying, “Totgesagter leben länger”, meaning “those declared for dead live longer.”

  10. Apple Corp might not be able to sue and win … it’s RAP, not music. One for MikeR, one against Charko.
    Perhaps they are thinking of forming a “division” to “promote Indies” … officially? No studios, no big promotions, no long-term contracts … just an agreement-to-brand-and-sell.
    Or, perhaps, they will BUY Apple Corps?

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