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Is Apple Music Playing Dirty? [EPISODE #03]

I honestly remember it like it was just yesterday. I was checking Instagram, as sometimes I normally do right before bed, and there it was, right in Drake’s feed the infamous OVO owl and its new companion the all-seeing and all-knowing half-bitten apple, representing the launch of Apple Music. At first, I thought to myself... huh, aren’t they a little late to the party? I mean, Apple seemed synonymous with iTunes, and since its launch January 9, 2001, it ruled the digital marketplace space with 25 billion downloads to date two years ago!! But streaming? Is Apple becoming a streaming giant as well?

Well, the short answer is yes. As of June 8th 2015, Spotify, Pandora, SoundCloud, and friends have some company, and more importantly some new “seasoned” competition. But let’s not go over the anthropology of the prominent produce conglomerate. Instead let’s break down what’s really important when it comes to Apple Music. How can you as a content creator, make money on Apple Music?

By the numbers, Apple is currently paying out a global average of 73% of their revenues to PROs and copyright holders on a pro rata basis.


Apple seems a little bit on the well - I don’t want to say stingy, but let’s say less frugal, with an average per stream rate at $0.006 in the US (166 streams=$1.00).

Another very interesting thing we came across in our research at M|!D is that Apple Music, does NOT offer a free tier. So you remember those days before you had Spotify premium, or Pandora One… those times where you were able to listen to the songs you enjoyed, but occasionally got a commercial or two? Well, with Apple music, you never have to worry about commercials because they do NOT offer a free service whatsoever. So problem solved! However, they do offer a free 3-month trial period, in which Apple has agreed to pay artist royalties during that trial period.


How about we start the answer to this question, with a question. That question being, are you feeling lucky? I mean like, really really Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry type of lucky? If the answer is yes, then you must love the idea of 30 million to 1 odds. No, I’m not speaking of the chance of the Buffalo Bills winning the Superbowl, instead we’re speaking of the odds of someone randomly discovering your music on Apple Music, by simply allowing Apple to run its algorithm while you stream.

But, on the plus side, this does boast to Apple’s robust and ever increasing catalog of 30 million songs.

Now let’s talk turkey, and by turkey I mean money. More specifically I’m referring to the very well and thought out process that Apple currently practices to receive money for apps and services that they don’t even own.

You may want to read that part twice, but however strange it may sound….just know that it’s very real.


Apple Music gets paid 30% of subscriptions signed up through the App store. So this means, if you’re the kind of person that prefers the Daniel Ek route and Spotify for your streaming delights, Apple still gets its 30% if that Spotify app you just bought was purchased through the App Store.

In a way it doesn’t sound fair, and Spotify shares our sentiments because they did their best to get around this little bridge toll by offering a better deal to users who signed up straight through website vs Apple Store. Of course Apple got wind of this, and to counter Zuck’s savvy approach, Apple simply put a hold on Spotify’s current build to their app store.

Are you starting to see the pieces now? Remember that iconic 1984 commercial? The one where Apple debuted the Macintosh? I’m not stating that Apple is turning into an Orwellian overlord, but they are discontinuing iTunes in 2018. Which means the only way consumers will be able to to listen, read, watch and enjoy their favorite music, books, movies and TV shows is to subscribe and stream.

So in summary, just when you thought music services like Spotify, Pandora, and SoundCloud had the streaming game wrapped up for them in a nice neat bow, in walks Apple. Hard not to hand it to them, I mean, they are definitely thinking differently.





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