“Apple Music, the hardware giant’s soon-to-launch streaming service, has landed an eleventh-hour coup, striking deals with the independents’ digital rights organization Merlin and with Martin Mills’ indie powerhouse Beggars Group, sources tell Billboard,” Shirley Halperin and Lars Brandle report for Billboard. “”
“In a letter sent to Merlin members, CEO Charles Caldas writes, ‘I am pleased to say that Apple has made a decision to pay for all usage of Apple Music under the free trials on a per-play basis, as well as to modify a number of other terms that members had been communicating directly with Apple about. With these changes, we are happy to support the deal,'” Halperin and Brandle report. “The announcement comes on the heels of the company’s 180-degree turn on a deal term asking labels to forego royalty payments during a 90-day-free trial offered to Apple Music users. Criticism was loud and prompted Taylor Swift to write an open letter asking the company to reverse its policy.”
“One insider offers this take: ‘The optics don’t look good if Apple backs down to indie labels. But if they back down to an artist like Taylor Swift, it shows they are sensitive to artist concerns, unlike Spotify, who blew Taylor Swift off when she complained about the free tier,'” Halperin and Brandle report. “Beggars comprises four imprints — 4AD, XL, Matador and Rough Trade — and has had a big hand in the careers of Adele, Radiohead, the Prodigy, Arcade Fire and many others… Merlin represents 20,000 labels and distributors worldwide.”
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MacDailyNews Take: Optics. They couldn’t have been planned any better. The value of Jimmy Iovine is now readily apparent to all who wish to see it.
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