I don’t know if you have ever seen a royalty check and with the breakdown of the royalties earned from streaming sites but it is pretty minuscule when you are on an independent artist level. As an indie artist it is significantly harder to accumulate the amount of streams necessary to see any real financial gain.
With Apple Music entering the streaming market at the end of June, millions are expected to sign up for the new service. Apple is launching with a free 3 month trial period and they are not paying any royalties to independent rights holders during that trail period. The question at hand is, why would an independent musician agree to sign over the rights to their music during the 3 month trial period if they are not going to be compensated for it? Maybe Apple believes their namesake alone is enough that indie artists will rush to align themselves with the brand for the exposure.
The American Association of Independent Music or A2IM for short, is asking the same question. Representing hundreds of the biggest independent labels in the world, A2IM helps independent music labels improve business by promoting access and parity through advocacy, education and connection-building with one another and affiliated businesses. The powerful entity released the following statement in regard to Apple Music.
“Independent rights holders will receive no compensation for their content during Apple Music’s 90-day free trial period. It is surprising that Apple feels the need to give a free trial as Apple is a well-known entity, not a new entrant into the marketplace. Since a sizable percentage of Apple’s most voracious music consumers are likely to initiate their free trails at launch, we are struggling to understand why rights holders would authorize their content on the service before October 1. This is especially true in light of the potential revenue damage to a music label’s iTunes download revenues and impact on their cash flow
We will keep everyone informed as new details emerge in the press. In the meantime, please do not feel rushed to sign Apple’s current offer.”
Those are some strong words from A2IM and only time will tell if the independent labels will follow their advice or just keep it moving. Either way, Apple Music is coming to the market very soon and the buzz around it is already pretty high. Indie artists you have been warned but the choice is yours.