With two weeks until the official launch of the streaming music service, live global radio station and social platform Apple Music, details about the service continue to emerge. In the latest report from Billboard, it appears that the streaming giant has yet to contact indie publishers regarding streaming rights. The delay has many publishers assuming a bulk email will soon be sent with an opt-in contract attached.
As first reported by Re/code, Apple will reportedly offer indie music publishers a headline rate of 13.5 percent revenue (which is higher than the 12 percent it pays for iTunes Match and 10 percent it pays for iTunes Radio). Apple will pay indie labels slightly higher rates than the industry standard, contributing to Apple Music's overall 71.5 percent revenue sharing in return for making no royalty payments during the three-month free trial it will offer consumers. The trial period has already stirred up considerable controversy among indie labels since no payments will be made to publishers during that period as we previously reported where an artist that releases music on the service between June 30 and Sept. 30 will get no financial return.
That free trial means that Apple will have to send notices of intent (NOIs) to publishers with a list of the songs they plan to use and then make payment to publishers using a three-tier formula approved by the Copyright Royalty Board. Sources have told Billboard that Apple is therefore offering a higher rate to sell indie publishers on its plan to hold off royalty payments until after its the three-month trial period to consumers. Therefore, while 13.5 percent is the standard, it is likely that full payment will include more than just that one tier to determine total royalties.
Look for Apple Music to be available June 30 for $9.99 per month after a three-month free trial period for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC. Apple TV and Android versions of the service will be available in the fall.