With the launch of Apple Music only days away, a surprising amount of details are still up in the air. After initially planning not to pay artists for songs streamed during its free trial, Apple has reversed that decision, but didn’t say how much it would pay rights holders during this period.
Now it seems that Apple will pay record labels 0.2 cents (that’s $0.002) per free stream during the three-month free trial, The New York Times reports. This doesn’t include a smaller free for songwriting rights, but it looks like Apple may pay 0.047 ($0.00047) per stream for these rights, according to Billboard.
This brings the total to 0.247 cents or roughly one-quarter of a cent per stream. While a fraction of a penny may not seem like much, this is roughly on par with what Spotify pays artists for tracks streamed on its free tier. Once users are out of the trial period and actually paying for Apple Music, rights holders will receive a 71.5 percent share of the revenue.
Indie labels were initially hesitant to sign with Apple Music due to concerns over not being paid for users’ first three months with the service. After Apple reversed the decision, Beggars Group and Merlin, who represent a total of more than 20,000 independent labels combined, quickly agreed to license their artists’ music.
Apple Music is set to launch on Tuesday, June 30 and will be available in more than 100 countries worldwide. The service will cost $10 per month for an individual or $15 per month for a family of up to six. Pharrell Williams’ single “Freedom” will debut on the same day as Apple Music, and will be available exclusively through the service.
The jury is still out on how the service will stack up to competitors like Rdio, Spotify, and Tidal, though users should be able to get a good feel for the service over the course of the three-month trial.