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German trade group publishes open letter to Apple chiefs

By | Published on Thursday 18 June 2015

Apple Music

Elsewhere in the Apple Music debate, it’s not just the UK and US indie label trade bodies that have spoken out about the tech giant’s streaming music deal.

Yesterday the Aussie indie music trade organisation AIR backed those comments made by the UK’s Association Of Independent Music earlier this week, while this morning the boss of the German indie music community’s trade group VUT published an open letter to Apple execs Tim Cook and Eddy Cue.

In it Jörg Heidemann writes: “We always believed that Apple aims at reaching fair deals with all players and not just with the three remaining major labels. The terms of the contracts sent to independent labels unfortunately tell a different story”.

He goes on: “You want to make Apple Music THE platform for music lovers worldwide by bringing them ‘more music than ever with access to millions of songs’. In our opinion – and as other cases like MySpace have proven in the past – you won’t succeed if you don’t take the independent music companies on board”.

“Your plan not to compensate independent labels during the three month trial period leads to the assumption that you don’t respect the music of independent artists or the work their partners do. It is obvious that this will reduce the overall income for independent artists and labels significantly at a time when many depend on every cent for survival”.

Expressing the sentiment of many labels, that this is particularly galling because of Apple’s well known wealth, he goes on: “Your company is not a start-up, your company is the ‘first US company to cross the $700 billion valuation mark’ and the biggest digital music retailer, so we’d assume you’re definitively able to pay the independents and their artists. Independents shouldn’t be the ones paying for your customer acquisition and the risk of the launch of your service”.

Concluding, he says: “Apple Music can definitely become a great place for music but you should try to reach that aim WITH the independent artists and labels. To get the independents on board, offering a fair deal, fair compensation and a seat at the table is the basis. Therefore, we’d really appreciate an explanation for Apple’s behaviour towards independent music companies and hope that Apple will rethink its contract terms. We’re ready to talk, so are many independents worldwide”.