Marketing materials for the new Apple Music service are prominently featuring artists the company has not yet acquired the rights to include within its streaming library.
An AppleInsider report points out high-profile independent artists like Alabama Shakes and FKA Twigs are all over the promotional literature, despite their labels publicly and categorically refusing to agree to Apple’s current terms.
Both artists are currently signed to labels under the Beggars Music umbrella; the former is signed to Rough Trade records in the UK, while the later is an XL Recordings artist.
Beggars' various labels - which are home to the likes of Adele, Jack White, Radiohead, Queens of the Stone Age and Vampire Weekend - issued a statement on Wednesday stating ‘obstacles’ would need to be removed before any accord could be struck.
The main point of contention appears to be the three-month free trial Apple is offering to users, during which it will not pay a single penny on royalties to the rights holders involved.
The Beggars statement, in part, reads: "We are naturally very concerned, especially for artists releasing new albums in the next three months, that all streaming on the new service will be unremunerated until the end of September. Whilst we understand the logic of their proposal and their aim to introduce a subscription-only service, we struggle to see why rights owners and artists should bear this aspect of Apple’s customer acquisition costs."
On Wednesday Anton Newcombe, the frontman of Brian Jonestown Massacre claimed Apple had threatened to remove its music from the iTunes Store if he failed to agree to the Apple Music terms.
In a series of tweets, Newcombe wrote (via Rolling Stone): "They said we want to stream your music free for three months…I said what if I say no, and they said, 'We'll take your music off iTunes.' Hardball? F**k these satanic corporations."
He added: "The biggest company on earth wants to use my work to make money for three months and pay me nothing – [if] I say no, I'm banned... My guess is that they will come out of the gate with shit streaming for free or low cost then blow everyone away with higher quality streams. Devils. They shouldn't threaten people to work for free. It's not ok for these f***ing idiots to decide art has no value."
Apple has since denied the claim, via a spokesperson who said the music “will not be taken off” iTunes.
Why Apple is choosing to market the Apple Music service with artists subscribers won’t be able to hear is somewhat puzzling. Perhaps the company feels a deal is imminent? In any event, the service launches on June 30, so there’s still time for Apple to sign them up.