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Apple Music: The Indifferentest Thing Ever to Happen to Indie Artists

June 10, 2015 / No Comments / Tags: apple music, DIY, indie artists, record labels, tidal

On Monday, the Some-Kind-of-Fruit Company finally graced us with the presence of Apple Music, Apple’s subscription-based streaming service that will launch on June 30th. In its announcement, Apple promised music lovers a platform that will have the wide music selection and social interaction of Spotify, while also offering…

Hmm…

Yeah…about that…

For a company that is relentless about industry disruption, particularly in the music business, it’s pretty surprising how nothing in Apple’s announcement suggests that its platform intends to move the ball forward any significant way. Granted, we should reserve final judgment until we actually, you know, see the thing. That said, it just wouldn’t be the Internet without people trying to bury things before they are born.

But at least within the indie community, perhaps a little post-announcement Apple Music anxiety is understandable. DIY artists have been feeling a bit burned lately by streaming services. Maybe it was the Tidal wave that was perceived to lift music’s one-percenters while drowning less-established artists. Or maybe it was the leaked Sony contract that basically confirmed that major labels get to skim Spotify revenues off the top before indies see any money.

Either way, indie artists are not feeling much love from streaming services. And, so far, what we have seen with Apple Music does not suggest that this platform will be any better for this group. Here’s what has happened so far:

1. The Apple Music announcement featured no unsigned artists on stage. In fact, the only indie artist mentioned during the announcement was not actually a working full-time artist.

2. Apple’s “Connect” service, which allows artists to create social pages on Apple Music, offers limited interactivity and does not appear to link to artists’ other social media pages. Not particularly helpful for indie artists who depend heavily on social media promotion and for their various social sites to play well together.

3. And, demonstrating a rather surprising failure to understand the DIY business model, signing up for Connect currently requires artists to provide the artist’s management and label information. I’m surprised Apple doesn’t also ask for the artist’s country club membership info and American Express Black Card number.

Come on, Fruit Company. You can do better. Indie artists need you to do better.

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