Apple Music Lands 20,000 Indie Labels as Beggars Group, Merlin Sign Deal


Less than a week ahead of the highly anticipated Apple Music launch, the company has inked a deal with two major indie music right holders, Beggars Group and Merlin Network, representing 20,000 labels and distributors worldwide, reports Billboard.

As the letter sent by Merlin CEO Charles Caldas to members reveals, Apple once again confirmed that it will pay artists for all usage of Apple Music under the free trial period on a per-play basis, and also revised other terms members objected to, making the deal very attractive for artists.

The British Beggars Group distributes labels 4AD, Rough Trade Records, Matador Records and XL Recordings and others, and represents artists such as Adele, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, The Prodigy and many others.

Earlier last week Apple made a U-turn by announcing that it will pay artists during the three-month trial period. The company referred to Taylor Swift’s open letter and the objections of other artists as reasons behind their sudden policy change. However, the company won’t pay full royalties during the period, the Wall Street Journal has learned.

Billboard obtained Charles Caldas’ letter in full, you can read it below:

Dear Merlin Member

I am pleased to say that Apple has made a decision to pay for all usage of Apple Music under the free trials on a per-play basis, as well as to modify a number of other terms that members had been communicating directly with Apple about. With these changes, we are happy to support the deal.

As you know Merlin has not historically had a direct contract with Apple. Apple has direct deals with our members, and that continues to be the case. Therefore, the amendments referred to above will apply to your existing direct agreements, and the amended contract will shortly appear on iTunes Connect. However, Apple has indicated that in the future they are open to engaging with Merlin as a central point of communication and negotiation for our membership.

Apple has a long standing, deep rooted relationship with the music community and has always helped ensure artists get paid for their work. We think Apple Music provides artists with a business model that’s good for the long term and we look forward to its launch on June 30.

We would remind you as ever that each member must make its own independent decisions in relation to Apple Music and its business in general.