So how is Beats Music going to ‘squash Spotify,’ much less make a dent? One way is to attack Spotify’s record of cloudy payouts and opaque financial practices: according to details shared with Digital Music News this weekend, Beats Music will pay every artist, label, and rights owner the same amount – indie, major, DIY, or otherwise.
“Beats Music is committed to the principle that music has real value and will be acting accordingly by paying the same royalty rate to all content owners major and indie alike, while simultaneously providing a platform for fan interaction,” the company offered in a statement.
Beats will officially launch on January 21st, with ‘Chief Creative Officer’ Trent Reznor leading the artist-friendly crusade. ”We want [Beats] to be just as meaningful for artists as it is for fans,” Reznor relayed. “We’re committed to providing revenue to artists, while helping to strengthen the connection with their fans.”
Actually, Beats’ payouts will probably be much higher than those mailed by Spotify, at least when measured per-strream. The reason is that Beats won’t be burning piles of cash on ad-support (ie, free) access, which cuts per-stream royalties by more than 90%. In fact, the only way to score a discount is through a bundled AT&T Family Plan (up to 5 users for one, $14.99 fee), and a 30-day free trials (sort of like Rhapsody).
But wait: doesn’t Beats have to pay the major labels giant upfront payments for access to their catalogs, just like Spotify? Sounds like another slippery avalanche of non-transparency is already afoot, with Beats facing the same damn problem that every micro-penny-paying streaming service grapples with. Becuase, what IS this egalitarian rate that everyone will enjoy, anyway?
The answer? ”We don’t share details on payouts,” Beats media relations person Brittany Hodill tersely emailed.
Image by Michael Coghlan, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Written while listening to Empire of the Sun.