The coronavirus pandemic has inflected a major blow to the entertainment industry—and Apple Music is looking to assist a sector that is often overlooked.
On Tuesday, the streaming giant announced it had launched a $50 million advance royalty fund for independent record labels and distributors. According to a letter obtained by Rolling Stone, Apple Music informed the imprints they are eligible to receive advances if they earned at least $10,000 in quarterly Apple Music revenue. The labels also music have a direct distribution deal with the streamer to qualify.
"These are difficult times for the music industry globally," the letter reads. "Livelihoods are at risk, with multiple sources of income that our industry relies on vanishing overnight. Apple has a deep, decades-long history with music, and we are proud to be in close partnership with the best labels and artists in the world. We want to help.
"Today Apple Music is announcing the creation of a $50 million-plus fund available as advances on future royalties to independent labels, to help them pay artists and maintain operations ... This offer is in good faith that labels will channel funds to artists and label operations based on financial need."
In wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists have either canceled or postponed live shows to adhere to social distancing guidelines; many recording studios have also been forced to close down as they are not considered essential businesses; and streaming services have also taken a dip, despite that many people have been placed under shelter-at-home order.