Apple may have caved to Taylor Swift over paying royalties to artists for music streamed during Apple Music’s free three month trial period. However, in a statement provided to The Wall Street Journal, Apple indicates it will pay out less to artists during that period.
Apple declined to say how much it plans to pay during the trial period, though it said the rate will increase once customers start paying for subscriptions. In the first three months of the service’s life there will be no subscriber royalty rate on which to base the rates. The company could find other ways to calculate a rate and is expected to share its plans with music companies soon.
Apple risks raising the ire of Ms. Swift and others if it comes in with what would appear to be a lowball offer.
The Journal takes a shot at figuring out how much Apple Music may pay out during the trial period by comparing it to Spotify’s free, ad-supported option. That pays out royalties of “about one-fifth of the subscription service.” In December, that amounted to around 0.14 of a cent for each time a song was streamed in the United States. Spotify paid out $5.8 million for the free tier listeners that month.
Even if Apple pays out less than the 71.5% revenue sharing amount they say they’ll pay after the free three month trial period has ended, it will still be paying out millions of dollars during the trial.
Apple Music – announced at WWDC 2015 earlier this month – will include on-demand streaming music, the Beats 1 24-hour-a-day worldwide radio station, and Apple Music Connect, where artists can share lyrics, backstage photos, videos, or even release their latest song directly to fans.
Starting on June 30, the service will be available as a 3-month free membership, after which a $9.99/month subscription fee will apply. A family plan will also be available, offering service for up to six family members for just $14.99/month.
The service will be available on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and PC starting June 30. Apple Music will be coming to Apple TV and Android phones this fall.