Apple’s decision to pay royalties during the three month free trial of Apple Music is paying off for the company, as Beggars Group and Merlin, which represents over 20,000 indie labels and distributors, are coming on board.
Apple Music, the hardware giant’s soon-to-launch streaming service, has landed an eleventh-hour coup, striking deals with the independents’ digital rights organization Merlin and with Martin Mills’ indie powerhouse Beggars Group, sources tell Billboard.
Perhaps the biggest name involved here is Adele, who is represented by Merlin. It should be noted that a star of Adele’s stature has the clout to decide for herself whether or not he’ll allow her music to be streamed by Apple Music, so it’s not certain as yet whether her catalog will be included in the deal.
Beggars Group had previously joined with Taylor Swift and other artists in opposing Apple’s original plan to pay no royalties to artists during the three month free trial period in return for higher royalties to be paid later.
Billboard published the full text of a letter sent by Merlin to its members, announcing the deal with Apple:
Dear Merlin Member
I am pleased to say that Apple has made a decision to pay for all usage of Apple Music under the free trials on a per-play basis, as well as to modify a number of other terms that members had been communicating directly with Apple about. With these changes, we are happy to support the deal.
As you know Merlin has not historically had a direct contract with Apple. Apple has direct deals with our members, and that continues to be the case. Therefore, the amendments referred to above will apply to your existing direct agreements, and the amended contract will shortly appear on iTunes Connect. However, Apple has indicated that in the future they are open to engaging with Merlin as a central point of communication and negotiation for our membership.
Apple has a long standing, deep rooted relationship with the music community and has always helped ensure artists get paid for their work. We think Apple Music provides artists with a business model that’s good for the long term and we look forward to its launch on June 30.
We would remind you as ever that each member must make its own independent decisions in relation to Apple Music and its business in general.
Billboard also reports that Independent music advocate group Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) reached an agreement with Apple just hours after the Beggars Group and Merlin deals.