News has leaked that Apple Music petitioned the US Copyright Royalty Board to set their songwriter royalty rate to 9.1 cents per 100 streams of a song. If the board approves Apple’s request, the new royalty rates will go in effect in 2018, according to DigitalMusicNews.com. The petition is a clever chess move for Apple in the streaming wars, as they hope the royalty increase will fuel more Apple Music exclusives from major artists.
Once firmly entrenched, Spotify is feeling the pressure in the streaming wars. Apple’s base of 15 million subscribers is already half the amount of Spotify’s in just one year. By 2018, they could conceivably be even closer. Apple is in much better financial shape, as Spotify recently had to raise a billion dollars in debt financing. Add those money woes atop a lawsuit filed in May claiming non-payment in mechanical licensing, and Spotify looks to be on the ropes.
How does this affect the indies? As of now, Apple is giving 58% of streaming royalties to Indie artists. Spotify is currently offering 70%.
Rapper/Producer MC Lars may have spoken for a lot of Indie artists when he extoled the benefits of Spotify to Newsweek last year. He noted that, “fifty percent of my monthly digital income is literally from Spotify.” If things continue trending the way they are though, who knows how that could change.