Apple pays out over $163 million in historical music royalties

Music app on Mac
Music app on Mac (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has paid out nearly $164 million in historic unmatched royalties on Apple Music.
  • Spotify, Amazon, and Google also coughed up for a settlement worth a total of $424 million.

Apple has paid out $163.3 million in 'historical unmatched royalties' to The Mechanical Licensing Collective as part of a larger payout from streaming platforms.

Announced Tuesday:

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) announced today that it has received a total of $424,384,787 in accrued historical unmatched royalties from digital service providers (DSPs), together with corresponding data reports that identify the usage related to these royalties.A total of 20 DSPs separately transferred accrued historical unmatched royalties to The MLC as required in order for them to seek the MMA's limitation on liability for past infringement. In addition to the accrued unmatched royalties transferred to The MLC, the DSPs concerned also delivered more than 1,800 data files, which contain in excess of 1.3 terabytes and nine billion lines of data.

Speaking to Variety, the CEO of the National Music Publishers Association David Israelite said the payout was "a massive win for music creators and the streaming services themselves." Israelite said that songwriters and publishers had fought "for years" to be paid accurately and fully by streaming services, and that 'unmatched money' was a plague on the industry.

Last year Apple announced a $50 million Royalty Advance Fund for indie music labels affected by the pandemic. Figures from 2020 suggest Apple Music pays out a good deal more money than other major services to artists when it comes to streaming. From that report:

Spotify takes the number one spot thanks to its massive grasp on the market share by revenue category with 44.33%. Apple came second with a 24.79% share of paid out revenue. On the face of it, Spotify is the clear winner here. However, take note of the 'Market share by streams' category. Apple paid out nearly 25% of the industries streaming revenue, despite only accounting for 6.36% of streams.That's because Apple's price per stream is $0.00675, a good deal higher than Spotify's $0.00348. to put that into perspective, Spotify pays out between $3,300 - $3,500 for every one million plays a song gets, whereas Apple is paying around $6750 for the same amount.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

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