Apple Music and indie labels are now humming the same tune

24 Jun 2015

Apple's new Apple Music streaming service has welcomed indie labels into the fold after revising terms and conditions. But where's Taylor?

Indie labels Merlin and Beggars Group and trade groups for indie labels WIN and IMPALA have agreed to accept Apple’s new terms just days after they were changed following Taylor Swift’s threat to withhold her new album 1989 from the new Apple Music streaming service.

Earlier this week Taylor Swift penned a Tumblr post in which she praised Apple for its innovation but said it was incorrect to withhold fees for artists during the course of the three-month trial of Apple Music.

“It is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing,” Swift said.

The post caused such an alarm that within hours Apple’s head of Internet Services Eddy Cue confirmed Apple Music will pay artists for streaming, “even during customer’s free trial period.”

Fair play, Apple

In negotiations with various indie labels and industry groups Apple agreed to pay for all usage of Apple Music under the free trials period on a pay-per-play basis as well as modify a number of other terms that they had been communicating with Apple about.

“Apple has a long-standing, deep-rooted relationship with the music community and has always helped ensure artists get paid for their work,” said Alison Wenham, chief executive of World Independent Network (WIN).

“We think Apple Music provides artists with a business model that’s good for the long term and we look forward to its launch on 30 June.”

Apple’s turnaround has been welcomed by indie labels, which account for the majority of new releases.

“This is a great precedent in any sector on the benefits of working together and taking a stance to achieve a fair result,” said IMPALA chief executive Helen Smith.

“With 80pc of all new releases produced by independent labels, this is also a great result for Apple. Their launch will now incorporate the very music that makes an online service attractive to music fans. IMPALA has repeatedly called on online platforms to ‘play fair’ and this is an impressive outcome for independent labels and artists.”

Beggars Group, which has been integral to the careers of artists like Adele, Radiohead and Arcade Fire also welcomed the new terms and conditions.

“Over the last few days we have had increasingly fruitful discussions with Apple,” Beggars Group 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.”

Apple has also scored something of an exclusive for its new streaming service with Pharell Williams agreeing to release his new song Freedom on the service.

The big question now is will Taylor Swift – after tweeting she was elated and relieved at Apple’s decision – mend her fences with Apple and allow 1989 to appear on Apple Music?

Vinyl records image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years