Apple and Record Labels Working on New Deals


The record labels’ deals with Apple expire at the end of June, though they are likely to be extended if the parties can’t agree on new terms by then, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

The negotiations would bring Apple closer to the rate Spotify Ltd. pays labels, and allow both sides to adjust to the new realities of the music industry.


Apple initially overpaid to placate the labels, who were concerned Apple Music would cripple or cannibalize iTunes, a major source of revenue.

The growth of Apple Music hasn’t been as detrimental to iTunes as labels had feared. But record labels are still asking for precautions.

The Secret Lives of Playlists

Liz Pelly, in a fantastic article about the secret lives of playlists:

Not all Spotify playlists are created equally. To begin understanding this, look at them closely. Literally. Choose a playlist in Browse, and look at its cover art. Look in the corner for a logo. Look at another. Look at all of them.The vast majority of their square, tinted, Instagram-like front covers will wear a tiny Spotify insignia, that little circle with slanted waves—the artist who designed the logo says it is a visualization of streaming. On other playlists, you’ll occasionally notice different logos: the thick cursive word Filtr, the all-caps logo for Topsify, or simple rounded text reading Digster. These are the playlisting brands owned by the major labels: Filtr by Sony, Topsify by Warner, and Digster by Universal. Very rarely you might see an independent label or brand logo.


Pay-to-playlist is real. For labels to influence Spotify-created playlists, Jeff describes a whole network of back-scratching and gatekeeping. While money might not be directly changing hands between majors and Spotify for direct access to playlist, there is a bigger picture where labels and Spotify provide value for each other – things like driving social traffic by getting artists to post Spotify links, doing paid media, and advertising. “If you can go to these [streaming] accounts and say, we have a $5,000 ad plan, and we are going to drive exclusively to Spotify…” he explains. Well, isn’t that a relationship they will want to keep mutually beneficial?