Apple Music Will Reportedly Stiff Indie Artists During Free Trial Period

Apple has taken a bite out of independent artists and labels, who are set to receive the dodgy end of the deal when it comes to streaming royalties for its new Apple Music platform.

A leaked contract obtained by Digital Music News has revealed an interesting stipulation surrounding Apple Music’s initial three-month trial. During this time, in which users can access the entire Apple platform for free, rights owners will be paid zero dollars.

As in jack freakin’ diddly for three whole months. Sucks to be anyone releasing music between June 30th (Apple Music’s launch date) and September 30th.

Beyond that, the iTunes juggernaut will pay 58% of streaming royalties back to the indies. That’s compared to Spotify’s 70% of subscription revenue that it pays back to rights owners, however it’s worth noting here though that the leaked Apple contract does not specify how much publishers and songwriters will receive.

According to the report by Digital Music News, the Apple Music contract does not, however, apply to the major labels and their associated publishers who, it says, “signed their own, first-run deals ahead of the announcement of Apple Music on Monday”.

While the details of those “first run deals” have not been made public, two states in the US have launched separate investigations to see whether any anti-trust laws were broken in Apple’s dealings with the majors.

As the New York Times reports, Attorney-Generals in New York and Connecticut want to find out whether Apple colluded with the labels to withdraw support for Spotify’s “freemium” service, in favour of Apple’s new model.

Spotify, meanwhile, has responded to Apple’s newly declared turf war on music streaming by whipping out its latest subscription figure and waving it around for everyone to see how big it is. According to The Guardian, the streaming giant now has a whopping 75 million active users, up from 60 million in January, with 20 million of those paying for its premium subscription tier.

In other news, the music industry continues to eat itself in a desperate attempt to survive in the tumultuous and anarchic age of digital music.

Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE 22/06/15: Apple has agreed to pay royalties during Apple Music’s three-month free trial period, with an Apple executive directly addressing Taylor Swift and other artists who disagreed with its original plans.

Watch: Drake Announces Apple Music

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