European Organizations Criticise Apple Music Terms

BERLIN, Germany (VIP NEWS) — Music organizations in Germany and France have both written open letters condemning Apple Music’s plans for a three-month free trial for new subscribers.


The proposed terms have caused some consternation within the industry, as no royalties would be paid to rights-holders during the three month period.


The German Association of Independent Music Companies, VUT, and the UPFI, an organization representing the majority of producers and distributors of independent phonograms in France, are the latest to speak out against the move.


“Your company is not a start-up, your company is the `first US company to cross the $700 billion valuation mark` and the biggest digital music retailer, so we`d assume you`re definitively able to pay the independents and their artists,” said the letter, signed by VUT members and secretary general Jörg Heidemann.


“Independents shouldn`t be the ones paying for your customer acquisition and the risk of the launch of your service. Instead, you should pay all partners as you did in the past. Apple used to be a highly valued partner of independent music companies and we´d like to see this relationship continue.


“This means it should go without saying that you pay for the music you´re using in your new service, starting the first day of its launch and not after a period of three months.”


The letter from the UFPI, meanwhile, expressed members` “deep dissatisfaction with the conditions”.


“The most damaging decision for music producers is that of imposing a total lack of compensation for labels for a period of three months, corresponding to a gratuity offered to customers of Apple Music,” it stated.


“By doing so, Apple may cause a loss of income which may be considerable for all labels whose activity is based on the release of new products, and even more so when their economic balance depends on the success of a title or an album during the free period. This attitude is all the more shocking as it is supporting the music production community financing the marketing launch of their service. Even Apple knows the recurrent difficulties of the music industry and that everyone knows the huge profits of Apple and its market value.


“Apple cannot require producers of music to assume the financing of the launch of this service, at the risk of aggravating the economic difficulties that many businesses go through.”


Earlier this week, in the UK, AIM CEO Alison Wenham wrote to members to encourage them to "make their own decision" about the service – but has criticized the new streaming service for essentially asking the independent music sector to “shoulder the financial burden for their global launch."


A memo was also sent out earlier this week to partners of independent label group Beggars, home to the likes of XL and Rough Trade, raising concerns over the terms for the service.


Absolute Label Services has also raised concerns. The company has sent a letter to all of its labels, stating that it has "not signed the agreement" and "does not plan to" until it feels that the "independent community`s position is clearly understood".

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