Apple Music Reaches Deal With Beggars Group, Indie Labels

Beggars Group and other prominent independent record labels have worked past their Apple Music impasse and announced that they have signed licensing agreements with Apple after the streaming service revealed it would compensate artists during a three-month free trial. “Over the last few days we have had increasingly fruitful discussions with Apple,” Beggars Group’s Martin Mills said in a statement. “We are now delighted to say that we are happy to endorse the deal with Apple Music as it now stands, and look forward to being a big part of a very exciting future.”

With Apple Music’s relaunch now less than a week away, it was imperative for Apple to come to terms with the indies before the service arrived on June 30th. Taylor Swift served as an unexpected catalyst in reopening negotiations after the singer penned an open letter to Apple asking that the company compensate artists for the music that is streamed during users’ introductory trial. Soon after Swift posted her letter, Apple’s senior vice president Eddy Cue announced that Apple had changed its stance and would “strive to make sure artists are paid for their work” during the three-month free trial.

“We are naturally very concerned, especially for artists releasing new albums in the next three months, that all streaming on the new service will be unremunerated until the end of September,” Beggars Group initially said on June 17th. In addition to Beggars Group – which operates 4AD, Matador and XL Recordings, the latter releasing Adele’s smash 21 – indie labels like Tommy Boy and Secretly Group as well as the digital rights organization Merlin Network have also agreed to terms with Apple Music, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) announced in a statement.

“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,” WIN’s chief executive Alison Wenham said in a statement. “With these changes, we are happy to support and endorse the deal.”

“This is really simple — if artists believe we’re not paying, because we’re not paying for it directly, and there was an indirect way we negotiated, and that doesn’t work, then we wanted to fix it,” Cue told Rolling Stone. “We wanted for it to be the right thing for the artists.”

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