There will never be a free tier of Apple Music, confirms head of licensing
What you need to know
- Apple has told UK MPs it has done more than anyone else to ensure money flows to artists through streaming.
- Apple's music publishing chief Elena Segal made the comments to a committee inquiry into streaming economics.
- Segal also talked about third-party access to the HomePod and the impact of free services like YouTube on Apple Music, stating Apple would never consider a free tier of Apple Music driven by ads.
Apple's global senior director of music publishing, Elena Segal, has told UK MPs the company has gone further than any other streaming platform to ensure money flows to artists on Apple Music, whilst dismissing the prospect Apple would introduce a free tier of Apple Music driven by advertising.
Speaking to a DCMS (Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport) committee of UK MPs Tuesday, Segal appeared remotely alongside representatives from both Spotify and Amazon.
MPs questioned the trio on numerous topics, including whether streaming should be considered a sale or a rental when it comes to splitting royalties. Summarised by Musically:
Segal indicated that Apple was willing to look at alternatives to the current pro-rata system of royalties, and at more user-centric models.
MPs also discussed the economics of broadcast radio, with Segal stating it would theoretically be possible to separate streams selected by users through playlists and streams served up by algorithms.
The committee quickly touched on the use of smart speakers like the HomePod, and the access that third-parties have to those, however, Apple and Amazon both noted how other services like Spotify could be set to default.
On artist royalties, Segal reportedly told the committee that Apple had "gone further than anyone else in trying to ensure money flow" to artists.
On YouTube as a competitor Segal stated:
"Un-level" refers to Segal's assertion that YouTube "doesn't necessarily" have licenses for all the music it uses and that it doesn't need to. She further told the committee the amount YouTube pays for the licenses it does have it also less. Segal also said "more people would probably be using Apple Music" if YouTube wasn't around, but shunned the prospect of a free tier of Apple Music:
Questioned about the power of labels, Segal's last contribution to the meeting noted how Apple certainly didn't negotiate with the labels first before giving the scraps to the publishers:
The full committee meeting is available to view on the UK's parliament TV website.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9