Apple has reportedly made a move to rid the iTunes Store of “soundalikes,” cover songs that do their best to fool consumers by sounding as much like the hit songs by the original artist as they possibly can.
Streaming services are awash with soundalikes – try searching just about any hit song by title on Spotify and you’ll find some. But on streaming services, you can just skip to the next song if you inadvertently click on The Cheer Squad’s soundalike of “California Gurls” rather than Katy Perry’s original.
However, iTunes customers, who are paying for each download, could be paying out their (or their parent’s) hard-earned dough on an inferior cover version of their favorite song.
The Digital Music News reported last month that iTunes has sent notices to digital distributors laying out new guidelines.
The service is banning songs that title themselves by using the original artist’s name in the song title, or using phrases such as: “originally performed by” and “in the style of.” The new guidelines call these practices “deceptive and misleading.”
While these guidelines are iTunes-only, they will affect how music is branded on other digital music services.
According to Ari Herstand, who broke the story for Digital Music News, digital distributors like TuneCore put songs on all the digital music services at the same time. So if a song has one title for iTunes, it has to have the same one for all the other streaming services.
Apple refused comment to Forbes on the new guidelines.