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Apple to pay labels 0.2 cents per play during Music trial

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Taylor Swift

Apple plans to pay record labels 0.2 cents for every song that listeners stream during the three-month Apple Music free trial, a new report claims.

The payment of artists during the music streaming service trial has been a highly controversial topic, but The New York Times suggests a definitive per-track fee has now been settled.

“For each song that is streamed free, Apple will pay 0.2 cent for the use of recordings, a rate that music executives said was roughly comparable to the free tiers from services like Spotify,” reads the report.

It continues: “This rate does not include a smaller payment for songwriting rights that goes to music publishers; Apple is still negotiating with many publishers over those terms.”

To put the royalties into perspective, Spotify is estimated to pay anywhere between 0.5 cents and 0.84 cents per play across both free and pay monthly tiers.

On Spotify, a song has to be streamed for at least 30 seconds to qualify as a “play” and thus accrue royalties for the artist.

Related: Apple Music vs Spotify

Apple initially had no plans to pay artists during the free trial period, although it reversed that decision on Monday following a damning open letter from Taylor Swift.

As a result, Apple won support of two major indie label groups yesterday, with both Beggars Group and Merlin agreeing to work with Apple Music.

“We are happy to endorse the deal with Apple Music as it now stands, and look forward to being a big part of a very exciting future,” said Martin Mills, chairman of Beggars Group.

Apple Music is set to launch next Tuesday, rolling out across 100 countries. The free trial will be on offer in all launch countries.

Subscriptions will also be available, with a $9.99 per month individual plan on offer alongside the $14.99 per month family plan – that lets up to 6 users listen through one account. UK pricing is yet to be confirmed.

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