Why Apple wants to kill free music

“Artists have long hated ad-supported free services, simply because there’s less in it for them. Naturally, the dominant ad-supported free services constantly argue that they pay fair rates and cite various statistics, but that hasn’t changed the conversation. Not one bit,” Evan Niu writes for The Motley Fool. “Apple wants to.”

“There’s a reason why consumers have been rapidly shifting their preferences away from traditional purchasing models toward streaming models: they get more while paying less,” Niu writes. “Even if you pay for a premium Spotify membership, you’re getting access to over 30 million songs for roughly $120 per year. In the old days, $120 per year might only buy you a handful of albums with dozens of songs. And a lot of people don’t pay for Spotify Premium and are happy to suffer through endless ads in exchange.”

“The flip side of this is that less money is flowing through to record labels and artists,” Niu writes. “In a way, the streaming model is on a collision course with the sustainability of the music industry itself. This is where Apple, always the music industry’s champion and ambassador to the consumer, can make a difference.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The record labels should smarten up and demand fair payment for supplying content to services that offer free tiers which will kill those tiers with great immediacy.

Jimmy Iovine: Apple Music ‘going really well,’ no ad-suported free tier ‘shell game’ – October 8, 2015


  1. “The flip side of this is that less money is flowing through to record labels and artists..”

    This is the part where COMMON SENSE should kick in and tell you–> Why then is money still flowing through RECORD COMPANIES? It should be flowing directly to the artists! When are these idiots going wise up and see that the record industry is and always has been just one huge $$$ leach? They have ripped off artists for decades. The few that actually make good in the industry turn their backs on other artists because they are still getting paid and become the gatekeepers protecting their own fortunes. Sad.

    Write, produce, record and distribute your OWN material people–keep ownership of YOUR publishing too. If enough artists would take advantage of the resources available to them they could cut the rec industry leaches out the deal for good.

    1. Sure, and every dairy farmer is going to become a logistics expert to distribute his milk to every grocery store too. Get real. Even if media is now PARTIALLY disconnected from physical media (you still need a player), distribution channels are an entirely different business than making art.

      While everyone will agree that many music labels are at best inefficient and at worst entirely corrupt, they do perform a function. Some people would say, thanks to consumer laziness, distribution channels will always have more power than the artiists. Wal Mart makes more money than practically any of the manufacturers who distribute through them.

      So when an artist signs a bad deal, that’s his own fault. Nobody is holding a gun to their heads. But can you name an artist who successfully made it without any help from major labels? Independents abound, but they remain obscure working class artists or they first made it in the big leagues and then, nest egg secure, they walked away to be their own boss.

      The vast majority of artists can barely manage their own lives, let alone the complicated international businesses that support their existence. Just putting your stuff onto a website or Apple’s store won’t get it done. Publishing really does involve work too.

    2. You are partially right but your description fall short.

      The music business is far more complex. You don’t become a garage artist one day and the next get on worldwide tour and tv shows for promotions by yourself.

      Most artist are not editors nor manager nor booker and counld’nt care less about the business side of the industry like copyrights and so on.

      The music industy is big. There is no boss sitting with feet on is desk watching sales in real time saying “I got this hit right and giving artists peanuts”.

      Give it a try, go deeper. As in work in the industry. There is a lot of people working in the industry.

      Apple is doing it right for now. Giving back where it should count.

      1. I get that..I’ve worked in or around the industry for over 30 years. I have no qualms at all w/ managers and agents, logistics, distributors –it’s the record companies who suck up the royalties and publishing like vampires, charge their own acts 5X the rate for studio time w/ engineers they already have on retainer at studios they ALREADY OWN. Believe me I’ve seen sh@t that in any other line of business would be considered downright felonious. And the best part is that they know these kids signing their life away don’t know any better.

        Tour and record. Tour and record just to pay back recording fees to companies OWN studio? It’s ridiculous. And in the end they STILL get your publishing. It’s a racket.

    3. Cutting off funds to the record companies would immediately decimate the industry. Who do you think pays to create the music that the artists want to record? A record album might cost up to a million dollars to produce. How many artists have that level of funds in the bank?

  2. And if you would never think of spending $150 a year on music? What then? Keep me on the buy a single track when the mood strikes me train. I can guarantee I won’t be buying more than three songs in a single month.

  3. How times change.

    There was a time when an Apple slogan was ‘Rip Mix Burn’.
    – and that’s what we all did.

    I can’t remember the last blank CD I loaded and burned.

    My kids Spotify or watch You Tube. Their rooms are virtually ‘CD free zones’. If Laptops and iMacs don’t have slot drives what’s the point of owning discs.

  4. This issue is actually a lot more complicated. I’ll point out one big fat factor that poisoned the music industry’s well. That was their outright ABUSIVE attitude toward music streaming services on the Internet.

    The RIAA and it’s tentacle businesses did their very best to DESTROY all Internet ‘radio’ / streaming services a few years back by charging them royalty fees orders of magnitude HIGHER than what they charged regular radio. They never did explain their logic. Instead they trotted out a bunch of sock puppet musicians (shame on them!) who whined and whimpered about how these abusive royalty rates were going to necessary for keeping their music making profitable.

    There was a massive BACKLASH against the RIAA’s abuse and it was halted. Pandora, a prime target of the RIAA at the time, survived, albeit with a weak profit margin. The RIAA’s goal was to destroy Pandora and any other similar service.

    As I’ve been explaining for perhaps a decade: If you abuse your customer, you’re going to suffer from RETRIBUTION. In this case, the bad attitude of music piracy, and obviously the use of free or low cost streaming services, is the retributional result. That’s incredibly sad. But I point right back at the RIAA for screwing their customers and inadvertently contributing to their own decline in profits. Very sad. Very inevitable.

    Me: As ever, I BUY the music I like. I NEVER listen to corporate radio stations and their mediocre crap for the masses. I’m constantly looking for quality NEW music that pisses off the corporate dweebs and delights my ears. This week’s find is a band called ‘Teeel’, whom I managed to hear at my local tea lounge, where they play the best music in town. I discovered the bands ‘Still Corners’ and ‘Wild Nothing’ there as well. Good luck hearing any of these bands, or much of other quality new music, on commercial radio. Thank the stupidity of the contemporary media oligarchy. 😛

    1. Getting off track and personal:
      What music did Derek buy today?

      1) A used copy of the ‘Cure Festival 2005′ DVD.
      2) The deluxe Blu-ray box of David Gilmour’s new album “Rattle That Chain’. (It was cheaper at my local music store than at Amazon!)

      Coming up: I’ll be buying the ‘Working Girl’ remix EPs from ‘Little Boots’ and the rest of the deluxe ‘The Cure’ albums I don’t already own.

      The only music I’m willing to ripoff or share with others is stuff I can’t buy and they can’t buy. IOW: Rare music. I used to run an FTP of rare techno music from Japan and the UK. If the music companies can’t be bothered to make all music available to everyone, would-be customers will find a way to get it and share it. Old story.

  5. We shouldn’t pay for “recorded” music. We should pay for access to the recorded music, and for live performances.

    No royalties, or else, I should be able to higher a lower wage worker to do my job, while I sit on my ass and play video games.

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