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CMU Beef Of The Week #280: Apple v Adele

By | Published on Friday 30 October 2015


Adele is still back, everyone. It wasn’t a dream. Music-industry-saving, record-breaking, wealth-creating Adele. She’s already set about drawing all of Google’s money into the music industry by getting everyone in the world to watch her new video on YouTube six hundred times each. And now she’s going after Apple.

Yeah, that’s right. For too long we’ve sat back and watched Apple steal all of our cash under the guise of being the industry’s single biggest retail partner the world over. Bloody Apple, coming over here, giving us a stop-gap solution to piracy that, for a time, went a long way to offsetting the downturn in physical record sales.

Damn, I wish Steve Jobs had started out as a music industry man. Then I would totally have been able to say “coming over here, taking our Jobs”. But no, that’s another thing that Apple has ruined for us all.

Anyway, Adele’s back. Oh dear lord she is back. Praise be. Everything’s going to be fine. I thought we were going to have to rely on Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran forever. It doesn’t bear thinking about. And don’t even talk to me about Coldplay. Christ.

No, Adele’s the one. And she’s going to turn this thing around. How? Well, how about this: Apple just announced third quarter revenues of eleventy billion, and Adele just got up and stormed straight in there, punched Tim Cook in the guts and shouted, “Give me £19.5 million in tour sponsorship, you cunts!”

“Nine. Teen. POINT. Five”, she repeated with gritted teeth, staring down Jonny Ive.

By which, I mean, Adele’s agents at William Morris Endeavor have reportedly set up a series of meetings with Apple’s marketing department to negotiate the IT giant sponsoring her tour. Actually, it’s quite possible that it was Apple that proposed all this in the first place. I don’t know. But let’s not spoil a good story, right?

“Nine… teen… point… five”, she growled at Eddy Cue.

They were all terrified. Fucking terrified. Because they’ve not got Steve ‘Fierce Fists’ Jobs to protect them anymore, see. Ive bit his lip, drawing blood, though it was Cue who was first to let out a whimper. This was not like that time he’d had a nice Sunday morning chat with Taylor Swift at all. That was easy by comparison. There was a real sense of danger here. No one could tell what Adele might do next.

Adele knew that she had them in the palm of her hand. She knew she could ask them for anything she liked. But she forgot the second rule of contract negotiation. The first rule, of course, is glare and talk slowly. The second? Even when you have them in the palm of your hand, don’t push it.

She pushed it.

“I want copies of my album in every Apple Store you have. Even the fake ones in China. Especially the fake ones in China.”

“On CD?”, sobbed Cook.

“On… C…”

“But…”, began Ive.

“SHUT UP”, screamed Adele. “Let me finish”.

A silence gripped the room.


The silence became deafening.

“No”, came a voice from the corner of the room. They all turned to see Senior Vice President Of Online And Retail Stores Angela Ahrendts, who had so far been sitting almost unnoticed in the corner of the room.

“No”, she repeated, channelling the spirit of former boss Steve ‘Fierce Fists’ Jobs. “Are you fucking kidding me? You’ve gone too far this time, Adkins. Too far. Sure, we’ll write you a cheque right here and now for $30 million, which is £19.5 million in real money. But not one CD will be placed in one of my stores. Or any of the fake stores in China. Especially not the fake stores in China”.

Fuck, thought Adele. She suddenly remembered the second rule of contract negotiation. She cursed herself inwardly. She’d lost face and she knew it.

She took the cheque and left. And as she paid it in at the nearest Nationwide, she knew that while she might now have £19.5 million in the bank – in return for painting an Apple logo on her face on her upcoming tour – she had still let a crack appear in her all-important ‘saviour of the music industry’ mask.

She would never tell anyone, but she now knew that one day it might fall back to Taylor Swift to take up that cause. Or worse, Ed Sheeran. Or, God forbid, Coldplay. Those fuckers had already booked in a 4 Dec release date for their new album. It was like they knew this would happen.

Of course, I should probably note here that no negotiations with Apple re sponsorship of Adele’s upcoming tour – if she even bothers to go out on one – have actually been confirmed. But Sky News does reckon that WME and Apple have been in talks. And a figure of £19.5 million has been mooted. And the news channel does claim that a request to have Adele CDs stocked in Apple Stores has been knocked back.

This has been spun as Apple playing hardball and refusing to support the music industry. You might notice I did that too, a little bit earlier in this article. Although, to be fair to Apple, if it was indeed made, that CD selling proposal was a fucking stupid request.

I mean, have you ever been into an Apple Store? Where would you put a CD display in an Apple Store without it looking really stupid? Apple computers don’t even have CD drives in them anymore. Plus, and I’m not sure if this is common knowledge, but Apple is quite active in the selling of digital music.

Presumably any Apple sponsorship of any Adele tour would heavily promote the Apple Music streaming service. it probably wouldn’t even mention downloads on this one, let alone acknowledge the existence of CDs.

Now, to be fair to WME, if it did propose Apple selling CDs, well, there’s probably a list of generic requests wheeled out in any sponsorship negotiations, regardless of how appropriate they are. You just throw around as much as you can and hope that something sticks.

Roc Nation has just secured $25 million from Samsung for sponsorship of Rihanna’s new album and tour. And I bet Jay-Z asked the Samsung guys (I don’t know their names I’m afraid, and don’t have time to describe the fictional meeting they had with a popstar) to stock her CDs in their so called Samsung Experience Stores.

Though, as her Apple talks continue, Adele will probably demand they start making flip phones next. Romantic, my arse.