Music streaming services pay their dues to record labels (and their derivative songwriters, producers, promoters and artists, etc.) through complex rates based on how users are or aren’t paying for their access. Apple is currently arguing that it shouldn’t matter how people access the music — someone should pay for every single stream.
The New York Times was able to retrieve Apple’s proposal to the panel of federal judges that make up the Copyright Royalty Board of a new base rate for all streaming tracks: 9.1 cents per 100 plays.
“An interactive stream has an inherent value, regardless of the business model a service provider choose,” Apple stated.
If Apple’s rules were implemented, Spotify would soon have to pay labels way more than it is currently contracted to, especially when it comes to streaming on its free tier. Meanwhile, Cupertino would benefit all the same as Apple Music is a paid-access service. Also, it seems that the payment rates it proposes would not apply to its own services — it dealt with music publishers directly and promised above-market rates.
The payment structure proposal competes with Spotify’s, Google’s, Pandora’s, Amazon’s and the RIAA’s as the board seeks to lay down rules to last from 2018 to 2022.