Last year, Apple Music got off to a rocky start with artists after it was discovered that artists wouldn’t be paid anything on free trial plays. That stung pretty badly, considering that virtually zero users would be paying for Apple Music during the first three months of launch. Instead, 99.9% would be using a three-month free trial, and only rolling into a paid relationship after that point.
Only after the user rolled into a paid account would artists get paid. Otherwise, the artist made nothing, even for thousands of plays.
The zero-pay decision was first reported by Digital Music News, after receiving a leaked contract from an independent label. Indeed, independent labels had been unsuccessfully protesting Apple’s decision, and appeared powerless against the might Apple Music.
Then, something interesting happened: Taylor Swift publicly protested Apple’s no-pay decision, leading to a reversal within 24 hours. [...]
Sounded like a big victory for artists. But exactly how much was Apple planning to pay? One year later, we have the answer, with a leaked royalty statement revealing a payout of approximately $0.0017 per free trial stream. The payout was determined during a test conducted by an independent r&b and hip hop label, and shared with Digital Music News.
Of all of the companies in the world with deep pockets, billions in cash on hand, and with the ability to compensate artists with even just a few pennies per stream, we have the noble example of Apple. A musician might as well buy lottery tickets. There is no path that leads to making a living playing music that runs through the streaming industry. It's the greatest ripoff in the history of ripping off musicians.