Independent Labels Sign Up With Apple Music
Apple finally has the indies on its side.
Now that Taylor Swift convinced the company to reverse course and pay license holders during the three-month trial period of Apple Music, two of the world's largest consortiums of independent labels and artists – Beggars Group and Merlin – announced they reached a deal with Apple.
Beggars Group includes the 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, and XL Recordings labels, and by extension, a considerable artist roster that includes Adele, Queens of the Stone Age, the Pixies and Alabama Shakes. Merlin is a network of 20,000 independent labels charged with licensing music to digital services.
For the last couple of weeks, independent record labels have publicly balked at signing contracts that would license their catalogs to Apple, saying they should be paid during Apple Music's three-month trial.
Apple's shift came after the decidedly un-indie Swift, persuaded Apple to change their policy by threatening to withhold her catalog from Apple Music. Beggars Group head Martin Wills said, "Over the last few days, we have had increasingly fruitful discussions with Apple. We are now delighted to say that we are happy to endorse the deal with Apple Music as it now stands, and look forward to being a big part of a very exciting future."
Beggars was initially among the indies slamming Apple for its intention to go without paying license holders. "We struggle to see why rights owners and artists should bear this aspect of Apple’s customer acquisition costs," they wrote in an earlier statement.