On Wednesday, September 7, Apple is poised to host a special event announcing the launch of the iPhone 7, widely rumored to lack an analog headphone jack. Since these events are always accompanied by frenzied speculation, let’s make a bet: Would you wager Apple’s headphone jack is removed to reenact an already failed DRM scheme or capitalize on exclusivity and market domination in a multi-billion dollar accessory category?
With the rumors of Apple removing the analog headphone jack from the next iPhone came a deluge of articles about the impending invasion of DRM (a blanket term for various types of digital rights management). We’re told that this move must be happening at the behest of greedy record labels, eager to inconvenience users for the sake of their battle against piracy, forcing people to use DRM-protected digital audio streams. But let’s ask some critical questions. While it is a technical possibility that an all-digital audio feed could include DRM, who would implement it and why?
And don’t overlook the return for the artists making the music. Musicians can collect more money from downloads than from streaming services, at least at first.
“Even a 99-cent download is a relatively high margin transaction compared to micropennies, where payments aggregate over time,” Future of Music Coalition chief executive officer Casey Rae wrote in an email. […]
[…]SHAHANI: Late last night, executive Eddy Cue tweeted out, Apple Music will pay artists for streaming, even during customers’ free trial period. We hear you, @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple
And so ends some bad blood.
CASEYRAE: And all props to Taylor Swift for pulling this off.
SHAHANI: Casey Rae is CEO of the Future of Music Coalition.
RAE: It is really, really remarkable that she was able to influence Apple to change a fundamental business decision. read more
For labels, distributors, and artists alike, a better connection to fans—plus knowing how fans listen to music and what they want from artists—may mean a better service overall, which could translate to more revenue. But, even with the direct connection to artists, Apple Music will still face stiff competition in its fight to become the dominant platform. In that fight, there’s a danger that it may wind up less concerned with the success of smaller, independent artists than beating its freemium competitors, such as Spotify.
“Artists want to believe that whatever the new platform is will have meaningful impact,” says Casey Rae, the CEO of the Future of Music Coalition, “but I don’t know how much Apple cares about that.”
[…]Over the past year, Merlin has also struck several major deals that run counter to what major labels have been willing to do. It recently agreed to work with SoundCloud, the massive streaming site that has been described as the YouTube of audio while also drawing criticism for widespread copyright infringement. Before that, it signed a deal with Pandora, which previously hadn’t reached deals directly with labels, opting to use so-called compulsory licenses where the rates are set by the government. In its deal with Pandora, Merlin agreed to per-stream rates that can be lower than it would have gotten otherwise, in exchange for a commitment from Pandora to play songs from its labels more often. read more
[…]But, as The Future of Music Coalition reports, independent music labels deserve some of the credit for Apple’s reversal as well. “It wasn’t just Taylor Swift,” Casey Rae of the Future of Music Coalition told NPR. “There was a huge chunk of the indie label community that was simply not willing to let Apple have a free pass.”
When the Billboard chart-topping winner of seven Grammys speaks, apparently Apple listens. Apple very quickly pulled an about-face late Sunday night, with Apple VP Eddy Cue tweeting that “Apple Music will pay for artist streaming, even during customer’s free trial period.” Following this several independent label groups announced they would be signing on to Apple Music, including Worldwide Independent Network and Beggars Group. read more
Every so often your pals at FMC take the weekend to do stuff like… make music. Seems like whenever we do, a major industry story breaks.
To wit: Taylor Swift’s open letter to Apple regarding the “free trial” period for Apple Music, during which the 12th largest company in world decided it would not be paying royalties to artists and rightsholders.read more
As expected, Apple announced its forthcoming music streaming service on Monday at its annual WorldWide Developers Conference. The service is scheduled to launch at the end of June, and naturally, our primary focus is on how the new offerings will impact musicians. The presentation was short on details, but here are some of the questions we’ve been wrestling with (and some partial answers)
For Apple, its Music app is a necessary Band-Aid. But it might not be big enough to stop the bleeding.
The company announced Apple Music, its latest foray into the music world, Monday. The new app will include playlists curated by real humans, a radio station with real DJs, its very own premium on-demand streaming option, and a way for musicians to connect directly with fans. With Apple Music, the company is joining a myriad of Internet radio and on-demand music streaming services in a crowded digital music space.
“Apple has a huge footprint, and gobs of cash, but Spotify has already made a lot of inroads,” says Casey Rae, CEO of the Future of Music Coalition.