Beggars is a British umbrella company that includes labels like XL Recordings, 4AD, Rough Trade and Matador. They issued a letter to its artists and managers, and while it doesn't unequivocally condemn Apple, it does address the problems that have been on everyone's minds as of late.
The company begins the letter by stating that Apple has "been a wonderful partner for the last decade, and we confidently trust [that it] will continue to be so." Things turn negative from there, however; the folks at Beggars say that Apple Music "presents problems," and that "we struggle to see why rights owners and artists should bear this aspect of Apple's customer acquisition costs."
They add that the business plan is particularly unfair for artists releasing albums within the next three months. They also express concern about the social media-geared Artist Connect function.
All this being said, Beggars still doesn't actually have an agreement with Apple Music, so there's currently nothing in place to guarantee that it will be part of the worldwide rollout on June 30. This will likely change in the coming days, however.
Read the full letter below. Scroll past that to read some rather harsh recent tweets from Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) about Apple Music. According to Newcombe, any parties who don't participate in Apple royalty-free three months will be banned from iTunes.
To Beggars Group Labels Artists and Managers:
We thought it was time to update you on the situation with Apple Music, following speculation in the press, some of it ill-informed. Apple have been a wonderful partner for the last decade, and we confidently trust they will continue to be so. We have recently been in discussions with Apple Music about proposed terms for their new service. In many ways the deal structure is very progressive, but unfortunately it was created without reference to us, or as far as we know any independents, and as such unsurprisingly presents problems for us, and for our coming artist releases. We are naturally very concerned, especially for artists releasing new albums in the next three months, that all streaming on the new service will be unremunerated until the end of September. Whilst we understand the logic of their proposal and their aim to introduce a subscription-only service, we struggle to see why rights owners and artists should bear this aspect of Apple's customer acquisition costs.
And given the natural response of competing digital services to offer comparable terms, we fear that the free trial aspect, far from moving the industry away from freemium services – a model we support – is only resulting in taking the "mium" out of freemium. We are also naturally concerned, as ever, as to whether we and you are being treated on a level playing field vis a vis the major labels and their artists. Additionally, we have reservations about both commercial and practical aspects of the Artist Connect area. It is a mistake to treat these rights as royalty free, especially in the light of recent licenses with services like Soundcloud.
At the moment we do not have an agreement with Apple Music that would allow us to participate in the new service. However, we very much hope that the obstacles to agreement can be removed, for us and for independent Merlin-member labels as a whole, and that we will be able to fully support this potentially exciting new service in the coming days.
don't need to read this. its true. the company that made me believe in companies, and not joking: PEOPLE is no more pic.twitter.com/evDBnHf1zR— blobtower (@blobtower) June 16, 2015
. @blobtower been thinking this for a while. ironically i think its iTunes why I've listened to less music / 2yrs. bad syncing/platform— blobtower (@blobtower) June 16, 2015
but seriously, i hope HATE isn't the message. Just literally wish that the humans who had the power, USED it to literally make things better— blobtower (@blobtower) June 17, 2015
one more note apple wise: iDVD 2, iTunes 3, iMovie 2.1 i remember the computer teaching ME how to use it, by having such amazing design.— blobtower (@blobtower) June 17, 2015
I've been loving spotify, for the record. have to import gems I've had on mp3 for years… and i think cd's +lp's and tapes are still better— blobtower (@blobtower) June 17, 2015
So @APPLEOFFIClAL has a new deal they offered me: they said we want to stream your music free for 3 months..I said what if I say no,and they— antonnewcombe (@antonnewcombe) June 17, 2015
(@APPLEOFFIClAL ) said "we'll take your music off itunes. hard ball? fuck these satanic corporations— antonnewcombe (@antonnewcombe) June 17, 2015
Fucking @iTunes— antonnewcombe (@antonnewcombe) June 17, 2015
It actually doesn't matter if that account was click bait because the fact remains that a corporation is basically making threats— antonnewcombe (@antonnewcombe) June 17, 2015
The biggest company on earth wants to use my work to make money for 3 months and pay me nothing - of I say no,I'm banned— antonnewcombe (@antonnewcombe) June 17, 2015
Wow,at least apple pays Chinese workers one dollar a day to make iPhones etc— antonnewcombe (@antonnewcombe) June 17, 2015
My guess is that they will come out of the gate with shit streaming for free or low cost then blow everyone away with higher quality streams— antonnewcombe (@antonnewcombe) June 17, 2015
Devils - they shouldn't threaten people to work for free.its not ok for these fucking idiots to decide art has no value— antonnewcombe (@antonnewcombe) June 17, 2015
I hope the poor decide that law has no value and burn the Bay Area to the fucking ground starting in Cupertino— antonnewcombe (@antonnewcombe) June 17, 2015
After looting all the techies McMansions— antonnewcombe (@antonnewcombe) June 17, 2015