Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Zhang Kaiyv)


Apple announces $50million fund to aid indie labels amid coronavirus pandemic


Apple Music it has offered relief to independent labels across the music industry by making a $50 million advance royalty fund available to ensure artists get paid amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rolling Stone has obtained a letter sent by Apple out to independent labels in which it states that the only requirements to gain access to the fund is that the labels currently receive at least $10,000 in quarterly Apple Music earnings. Those who do will qualify for the royalty advances and the indie labels must have a direct Apple Music distribution deal.

The independent sector of the music industry, which also rely on physical sales for revenue, has been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic due to the closure of record stores. With all live music also being put on hold for the foreseeable future, the effects of the current crisis have had a damning impact on many independent musicians who live hand to mouth and have had their income halted. Even online streaming figures have taken a sharp downturn in the last few weeks since lockdown began.

The music industry has been rallying together to try to get through this unprecedented time with artists doing all they can to help each other, whether this is through raising money on a live-stream, or Father John Misty releasing his new live album titled Off-Key in Hamburg with all of the proceeds from the record going towards the MusiCares’ COVID-19 relief fund.

Read a full copy of Apple’s 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.”