UK Indie Labels Say Apple Music Free Trial Could ‘Literally Put People Out of … – Mac Rumors

Say you are an Indie label with a moderately successful underground band (or, a band running its own label, the line is blurred these days, but same difference) with a hotly anticipated new album scheduled for release this summer. You’ve worked your arse off on recording, post-production and promotion, and the band have made personal sacrifices whilst they spend time writing, rehearsing and recording too. Fortunately recording is cheaper than it used to be, thanks to the awesome Logic Studio X and everything else, but you still can’t actually afford to pay the band anything, because you only broke even on the last album due to promotion costs, which are actually paid by all labels, even for artists that look like they’ve “come from nowhere entirely under their own steam”.

You’ve promised the band that they’ll get something back this time, apart from just screaming fans. The launch gigs are booked (which by the time you’ve paid venue, transport and accommodation fees you’re already making an irreversible loss on), the bribes for favourable reviews have been paid (yes, that is really how it works… how else do you explain half the crap out there?) and the t-shirts are printed. You’re running on impossibly tight margins, and you’re relying on iTunes revenue to bring in a couple of grand so you can break even or maybe even better, because Spotify and YouTube pay near-as-damnit nada.

Then along comes Apple Music. If you sign-up, then all your fans listen to your highly anticipated album for free. Zero income. Legitimised piracy. By the end of the summer when revenue starts to trickle in, the fans have moved onto some other band (as they should) and maybe only listen to your album occasionally. Your only revenue opportunity is missed. You’ve helped promote the new music service of one of the most cash-rich corporations in the world, and got basically fuck all back. The band, disheartened, give up and train as accountants. No Soft Bulletin, no OK Computer, no Parklife, no [I]

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