Apple is now facing the prospect of a ‘massive withdrawal’ from a ‘very large group of indie’ artists and labels from Apple Music, according to multiple sources speaking with Digital Music News this weekend. That includes some of the largest independent artists on the planet, including Adele, The National, Alabama Shakes, and quite possibly, Radiohead, already a vocal opponent of streaming royalty payments (or lack thereof).
Given the brewing dissatisfaction over egregious Apple terms, it was estimated that more than 50 percent of indie artists will be absent during Apple’s critical launch period this summer.
According to more than four separate sources, including a pair a well-known independent labels, most of the artists and labels will keep their catalogs available for traditional download on the iTunes Store, but will opt out of streaming aspects.
“I don’t need to call Apple to tell them, ‘deal with this, or you’re looking at more than 70 percent of the indies holding out,’” explained one head of a large independent label. “This is just very clearly a raw deal.”
For those just tuning in, the major sticking point is a decision by Apple not to pay any royalties to artists during a gratis, three-month period. That was spelled out in no uncertain terms in an Apple contract sent to indies, and of course, leaked to Digital Music News.