Apple Music Starts $50 million Royalty Advance Fund For Indie Labels - Rolling Stone
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Apple Music Quietly Starts $50 Million COVID-19 Advance Fund for Indie Labels

Apple’s deal is the latest move by a major music company to bolster the struggling business.

Tim Cook'The Morning Show' TV show premiere, Arrivals, Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall, New York, USA - 28 Oct 2019

Apple Music announced a $50 million royalty advancement fund to help indie labels struggling through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured, Tim Cook.

Photo Illustration images: shutterstock; 2

Apple Music is the latest company to offer industry relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. It told independent record labels Tuesday that it is launching a $50 million advance royalty fund to make sure their artists get paid.

According to a letter sent to the labels and obtained by Rolling Stone, independent labels that earn at least $10,000 in quarterly Apple Music earnings will qualify for the royalty advances. To qualify, the indie labels must have a direct Apple Music distribution deal.

“These are difficult times for the music industry globally,” the letter says. “Livelihoods are at risk, with multiple sources of income that our industry relies on vanishing overnight. Apple has a deep, decades-long history with music, and we are proud to be in close partnership with the best labels and artists in the world. We want to help.”

The music industry at large has been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic. The live music industry has indefinitely been put on hold, and many concert tours — as well as major music festivals like Coachella and South by Southwest — have been postponed or canceled. Most musicians rely on live touring revenue, as do venue workers, tour managers and many other live crew members who are now out of work.

The recorded music business has been impacted as well. Access to recording studios while under lockdown can be challenging, and with much of the country at home because of physical distancing recommendations, music streaming is down and artists are pushing back release dates for upcoming albums.

Apple’s initiative is just the latest industry power player move to bolster the struggling business. The Recording Academy started a $2 million COVID-19 Relief Fund with its non-profit arm MusiCares, and it’s gotten several million dollars more in donations from high-profile music companies including Spotify, StubHub, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Promotion giant Live Nation committed $10 million to its new relief fund Crew Nation to help live workers currently out of a job.

Apple is also one of several media platforms set to air Global Citizen and the World Health Organization’s One World: Together at Home broadcast, which will feature performances from Elton John, Billie Joe Armstrong and Billie Eilish among several others.

Read a full copy of the email below:

These are difficult times for the music industry globally. Livelihoods are at risk, with multiple sources of income that our industry relies on vanishing overnight. Apple has a deep, decades-long history with music, and we are proud to be in close partnership with the best labels and artists in the world. We want to help.

Today Apple Music is announcing the creation of a $50 million-plus fund available as advances on future royalties to independent labels, to help them pay artists and maintain operations.

Royalty advances will be offered to independent labels with a direct Apple Music distribution deal who meet a minimum quarterly threshold of $10,000 in Apple Music earnings. Each advance will be based on the label’s past earnings, and will be recoupable against the label’s future earnings. This offer is in good faith that labels will channel funds to artists and label operations based on financial need.

Label agreements for the advances will be posted in iTunes Connect, in the Agreements, Tax, and Banking module, on April 10. To receive an advance you will need to accept the Royalty Advance agreement and be on the latest Apple Music distribution agreement before May 8, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

We hope that together we can help provide stability for artists by sustaining an enduring and vibrant music sector. If you have additional questions, please contact us.

Thank you and stay safe,

The Apple Music Team

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