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Apple Music Lands Over 20,000 Indie Labels as Beggars Group and Merlin Sign Deal

Apple Music has signed two major indie music rights holders Beggars Group and Merlin Network, which represent over 20,000 indie labels and distributors, reports Billboard. The licensing agencies agreed to sign up for Apple Music after Apple changed course and agreed to pay artists on a per-stream basis during the streaming music service's three-month trial period.

Adele
British singer Adele is signed to Beggars Group label XL Recordings (via DeviantArt)
"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," said Merlin CEO Charles Caldas. "With these changes, we are happy to support the deal."
Beggars Group is a British company that distributes labels 4AD, Rough Trade Records, Matador Records and XL Recordings among others, representing artists such as Adele, Arcade Fire and Radiohead, and helping along the careers of Basement Jaxx, M.I.A, The Prodigy and others. Merlin is an aggregator of several smaller labels that have represented music groups such as The xx.

Billboard obtained a copy of the full Apple Music letter sent to Merlin Network members:
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.
Apple Music has also been endorsed by independent music advocate group Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), an agreement reached just hours after the Beggars Group and Merlin deals, according to Billboard. WIN was established in 2006 to address the business, creative and market access issues faced by indie artists and the larger independent music sector.



Top Rated Comments

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14 months ago
The lack of Indie signup was the real reason Apple changed direction on royalty fees, Swift is just getting the credit.

Would have been fine for Apple Music to launch a free trial without a Taylor Swift album music lovers don't care about but a disaster to launch with 50% of Spotifys music catalogue and a depleted search for music fans who actually like a diverse range of acts to find. The service would be DOA and the internet would be full of "Apple music doesn't even have artist X".
Rating: 16 Votes
14 months ago
Beggars can't be choosers
Rating: 11 Votes
14 months ago

The lack of Indie signup was the real reason Apple changed direction on royalty fees, Swift is just getting the credit.

Would have been fine for Apple Music to launch a free trial without a Taylor Swift album music lovers don't care about but a disaster to launch with 50% of Spotifys music catalogue and a depleted search for music fans who actually like a diverse range of acts to find. The service would be DOA and the internet would be full of "Apple music doesn't even have artist X".

Hate to break it to you, but that album that "music lovers don't care about" probably brings in more revenue than everything else that "music lovers" do care about.

Gamers aren't the main consumers of video games, tech geeks aren't the main consumers of technology, and music lovers aren't the main consumers of music. Heck, mainstream consumers are the reason why Apple is as big as it is.
Rating: 10 Votes
14 months ago
This definitely brings more interesting content to Apple Music making it more appealing to consumers, good signing by Apple! :apple:
Rating: 8 Votes
14 months ago

Tailor Swift jokes in 3... 2... 1...

Safari keeps crashing all the time, I hope Apple fix this, if not..I have no choice but to contact Taylor swift, and boom..problem solved
Rating: 4 Votes
14 months ago
yes definitely good to appeal the music listeners that are not just mainstreamers
Rating: 4 Votes
14 months ago
Definitely good news.

On a related note, I do wonder if Apple was in the process of changing its decision regardless of Swift's open letter. She's certainly come out of this getting plenty of good media attention and praise.
Rating: 3 Votes
14 months ago
While this thread should probably fill with another mass of posts against "greedy", "spoiled brat", etc artists, the reversal is actually the best decision all things considered. A perceived victory for starving artists is a tangible victory for Apple, both PR-wise and as good citizen (good will). It makes Apple look like they care enough about the artists to put some money where there mouth has long been while putting pressure on streaming music competitors to show how they too care so much about the artists that they'll lay out similar coin even in free trial tiers. Timing of this move could not be better and the positive publicity is hitting right ahead of the launch. These independents signing on at the last minute further implies that they see it as a good thing too.

This is a classic win:win that can only look like it's a little painful for Apple if one only looks at the 3-month trial period. Hop forward even 6 months and look back at it (and do the financials math) and the picture we've been conjuring for several thousand posts this week looks very different. A little money mostly to address a PR problem or opportunity will go a long, LONG way here.
Rating: 3 Votes
14 months ago

I agree with the guy from Pandora who tweeted this is a theater. But hey, if Apple can spin this as we care more about the artists than the other guys I guess good for them. Still rings a bit hollow to me. If Apple could have gotten away with not paying for these 3 months they would have.


They could have avoided all this fuss if they had started negotiating with the indies before the official announcement for Apple Music.
Rating: 3 Votes
14 months ago

All Access does have those artists. Google didn't have any drama because there was never a question of paying artists. Apple is the only company to try to not pay royalties during the free trials.

It still boggles the mind that some think this is a "win" for Apple. In the grand scheme of things I don't think it will matter, but no company wants how the sausage gets made to be aired in public. It seems pretty clear Apple's position was were not going pay but if people scream loud enough we'll do a 180 and just spin it as we care more about artists than the other guys do (and assume people won't see it for the BS spin it is).
Rating: 3 Votes

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