Apple Music royalty rate during free trial on par with Spotify’s 35% deal, at 0.2 cents per play

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A report that Apple would pay music labels a reduced royalty rate during the three-month free trial of Apple Music has been confirmed by labels who spoke to the NY Times. Apple had originally planned to pay them nothing before an open letter from Taylor Swift and complaints from others led to a swift change of plan.

For each song that is streamed free, Apple will pay 0.2 cent for the use of recordings, a rate that music executives said was roughly comparable to the free tiers from services like Spotify. This rate does not include a smaller payment for songwriting rights that goes to music publishers.

Spotify bases its royalty payment for free users on a 35% share, half of the 70% it pays for tracks streamed by paid subscribers …  Read more

Long-time iTunes holdouts Metallica “feel very safe” with Apple Music from “the coolest company in the world”

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Metallica haven’t always been the greatest fans of Apple’s music, criticizing iTunes’ track-based sales model as “contributing to the demise of the album format” and only allowing the band’s music to be sold on the service in 2006 – some three years after its launch. iTunes sales outside the U.S. didn’t happen until 2008.

But while Taylor SwiftAnton Newcombe and others have been attacking Apple Music (something which may or may not now be resolved), Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has been singing the praises of the new service, reports the NY Post.

Speaking at Cannes Lions, drummer Ulrich said he and his Metallica bandmates were excited about the launch of Apple Music’s streaming service. “I think that Apple is just about the coolest company in the world. I am a huge supporter of Apple and all their products, and I have been fortunate enough to meet most of the people there, a lot of the people who make key decisions, and I feel very safe with them,” Ulrich said.

Ulrich said that the band had good relationships with the Apple team, including Tim Cook and Jimmy Iovine …  Read more

Apple Music passes on >70% of subscription payments to labels, but pays nothing during free trial

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Suggestions that Apple will pay music owners just 58% of subscription payments for its Apple Music service are not true, says the company. Robert Kondrk, the Apple VP who has been working with Eddy Cue on negotiating deals with music labels, says that company actually pays a little more than the industry-standard 70% figure.

In the U.S., Apple will pay music owners 71.5 percent of Apple Music’s subscription revenue. Outside the U.S., the number will fluctuate, but will average around 73 percent, he told Re/code in an interview. Executives at labels Apple is working with confirmed the figures.

The 58% number doing the rounds earlier this month appears to be based on a misunderstanding: that’s the usual cut for the label, which owns the recording; the publisher, which owns the rights to the song itself, gets a 12% cut. Add the two together, and you get the 70% number that is standard for streaming music services.

But the most interesting revelation to me was that Apple is not paying music labels a single cent for tracks streamed during the three-month free trial period …  Read more

Apple Music doesn’t stream the entire iTunes library, just most of it (The Beatles among the exceptions)

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Contrary to many assumptions being posted this morning, Apple Music doesn’t allow you to stream the entire iTunes library – just most of it. As The Verge notes, The Beatles are among the exceptions.

Even Beats Music got this wrong, stating in its FAQ that Apple Music gives you everything you get with Beats “plus, you can play all of the songs in the iTunes catalog” …  Read more

Apple confirms Apple Music will allow you to download albums for offline listening

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Streamed music is great for having access to almost everything, but it isn’t always ideal when you’re on the move thanks to patchy data coverage and carrier data caps. While Apple didn’t mention it yesterday, it has now confirmed to Re/code that Apple Music supports offline listening. The feature is also listed in a feature checklist on Apple’s website.

As an Apple Music member you can add anything from the Apple Music library — a song, an album or a video — to your collection. And that’s just the warm-up act. From there you can create the perfect playlist from anything you’ve added. You can save it for offline listening and take it on the road.

Apple didn’t give any details, but offline listening is likely to work in the same way as Spotify Premium …  Read more

AP: Apple aiming for 100M subscribers to streaming music service, dwarfing existing services

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Apple is aiming to sign up a massive 100M subscribers for its streaming music service, according to a source cited by the Associated Press (reproduced in the NY Times). This would be more than double the subscriptions for all other streaming music services combined.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry says that existing worldwide streaming subscriptions total around 41M across all services. The market leader, Spotify, has around 4.7M subscribers in the USA …  Read more

Apple TV doubles share of premium video viewing in just one quarter, overtaking Roku

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Apple TV doubled its share of premium viewing in just three months, from 5% in Q4 2014 to 10% in Q1 2015, according to data from the Adobe Digital Index. Roku’s share increased by only 1% in the same time period, from 7% to 8%. Principal analyst Tamara Gaffney told TNW that Apple’s growth was unprecedented.

Apple TV devices doubling their share of premium video viewing quarter over quarter (QoQ) from 5% to 10%–overtaking Roku […] That’s huge. We never see double in quarter-over-quarter in something that’s been around for a couple of years. We expect Apple TV to take off even more.

Why the spike? Apple dropped the price of the Apple TV to $69 and it grows a few new channels every month but the survey didn’t offer any guesses. Adobe also noted that iOS devices account continue to dominate mobile video viewing, representing 82% of non-subscription viewing …  Read more

Spotify is not ending its free service (Updated)

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Update: We’ve gotten word from a Spotify spokesperson that the Free model isn’t going anywhere. Director of Communications at Spotify Graham James told me “This is totally false.  Our model is working.” 

Digital Music News is claiming that Spotify is coming under pressure from music labels to end its free, ad-supported service, limiting users to a three-month free trial.

The three-month ‘proposal,’ advanced most principally by major labels Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, would allow current, free-access, ad-supported (or ‘freemium’) subscribers to continue their plans for 6 months, while new users would be limited to three months only.

Coincidentally or not, Universal Music Group is one of the labels specifically mentioned in two investigations into whether Apple is attempting to stifle competition in the run up to launching its own streaming music service …  Read more

‘Apple Music’ Beats-based streaming service to have Ping-like social network for artists

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Apple’s upcoming Beats-based streaming music service will likely be named “Apple Music” and will have deep social networking integration for artists, according to industry sources briefed on the plans for the new service.

Taking a page out of the discontinued iTunes Ping feature from earlier this decade, the service will allow artists to have their own pages within the streaming music service that they can use to post track samples, photos, videos, and concert updates.

Artists will also be able to share the content of other artists in an effort of cross-promotion. For example, all-gold Apple Watch wearer Kanye West could promote a new album from Taylor Swift on his “Apple Music” artist page, if he so chooses…

Read more

Opinion: Will Apple’s streaming music service mean I finally stop buying music?

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I was an early adopter of digital music (you hide your surprise well). I bought my first mp3 player in 1998, some three years before the first iPod. It cost a silly amount of money and stored exactly one album at a time in its 64MB (not GB) of flash memory.

Me being me, I went through a few different generations of mp3 player before Apple completely changed the game with the iPod. Ironically, by adopting a less sophisticated technology–a hard drive in place of flash memory–Apple created a far better product. One that allowed us to carry around 80 albums at a time. I bought one the day it went on sale, having by then finished ripping all my CDs to mp3.

When the 160GB iPod came out in 2007, I again bought one immediately. That was large enough to hold my entire music collection at the time. I not only carried it everywhere with me, I also plugged it into my hifi at home and to the AUX socket of my car stereo. At which point, I started wondering why I still had a wall full of CDs …  Read more

European antitrust authorities investigating Apple’s streaming music service even before it launches

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Apple’s planned rebranding and relaunch of the Beats streaming music service has not had the easiest of rides. The launch, initially planned for earlier this year, was delayed by the departure of key execs and difficulties integrating Beats and Apple technologies. A planned $5/month price-point had to be abandoned in favor of an attempt at $7.99/month when music labels wouldn’t play ball, and that too now looks increasingly unlikely even though Google Play offered initial All Access Signups for a $7.99 locked in. And any plans to offer artist exclusives as an inducement now face competition from newly-relaunched Tidal.

Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any tougher, London’s Financial Times reports that the European Commission is considering launching an antitrust investigation into the service, even before it launches. The Commission has contacted several music labels to ask what deals have been done with Apple, says the FT.

The commission, which also has contacted Apple’s music-streaming rivals, is said to be concerned that the company will use its size, relationships and influence to persuade labels to abandon free, ad-supported services such as Spotify, which depend on licenses with music companies for their catalogues.

The newspaper implies that the investigation may have been triggered by a formal complaint by an existing streaming music service …  Read more