MEDIA STATEMENT: Apple Hits A Sour Note For Indies




We’re pleased to see that Apple Music has reconsidered the decision that motivated CIMA President Stuart Johnston to speak out on the issues outlined in the letter below. Apple Music announced, initially through the Twitter feed of Senior VP of Internet Services & Software Eddy Cue, that it would be paying rights holders during the 90-day free trial after all. More details can be found via Billboard:

With CIMA’s open letter being picked up by the Toronto Star and Exclaim! (among others), it’s clear that CIMA was not alone in our criticism of Apple Music’s initial decision to not pay rights holders for the use of their music during Apple’s 90-day free trial to consumers. Joined by A2IM, AIM, Beggars Group and Taylor Swift (among many, many others) in voicing discontent, equitable and fair compensation for the music community is a core issue for everyone in the music industry.

We thank Apple Music for hearing our concerns loud and clear, and for committing to the fair and equitable treatment of music creators and rights holders.



Why is music still considered a free commodity?

Why are artists still considered second-class citizens, and their music (their art; their craft; their livelihood) expected to be just given away?

Why are commercial interests of corporations being built on the backs of our musical artists, without fair and due compensation to them?

These questions are raised yet again, after it has been revealed that Apple will pay zero royalties (as in nothing, nada, zip) to our independent artists and their labels and publishers, when it launches its three-month trial period for its new streaming service, Apple Music. [Details:]

It is an outrage that any company, let alone Apple, will refuse to pay independent artists, the labels and the publishers supporting them. Is Apple refusing to pay its staff during this free trial period? Is it refusing to pay its many suppliers? Does Apple expect to get its marketing and promotion services for free – all for the reason that it will supposedly receive no revenues during this free trial period?

We think not.

Apple should know better.

It should be first in line to pay for the art on which its business model is based. It’s called the cost of doing business, folks, and it works very well in practically every other industry.

Why then does the music industry get shafted?

Music is a commodity, which has value on many different levels to be sure, not the least of which is monetary value. Artists should be paid for their work. Period. End of sentence. Aside from the creative blood, sweat and tears that an artist puts in to write and record a song, it takes real dollars to make it a reality and bring that music to market.

Who else would work as hard as our artists and expect to do so for free? Certainly not Apple.

So for Apple to refuse to pay artists for their work for this length of time is a shock, and is, quite frankly, a rip off to those artists and the companies that support them.

The arrogance of any company to believe that its business model should be based on getting something for nothing – and exploiting that for its own mass profits – is shameful. Period.

Apple is using its considerable weight to bully independent labels and their artists to sign a deal that will only benefit Apple – and not the hard working songwriters, recording artists and independent record labels that create music every day.

This exploitation of our artists and the music industry in general must stop. And Apple should set the example here and do what is right – stop its shameful business practices and pay the artists and labels now!

Stuart Johnston

Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA)

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For further reading:

Our sister organization, A2IM’s position:


Media contact:

Lisa Fiorilli
Research & Communications Coordinator
Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA)
416-485-3152, extension 223



Celebrating its 40th year in 2015, CIMA is the not-for-profit national trade association representing the English-language, Canadian-owned sector of the music industry, and is the first organization of its kind in the world. CIMA represents a diverse membership consisting of Canadian-owned companies and their ambassadors, all of whom are involved in every aspect of the music, sound recording and music-related industries. They are exclusively small businesses which include: record producers, record labels, recording studios, managers, agents, licensors, music video producers and directors, creative content owners, artists and other professionals involved in the sound recording industry. CIMA’s mandate is to develop and advocate policies and services that serve to support a strong and economically stable Canadian independent music and sound recording industry, ensuring the long-term development of the sector and to raise the profile of Canadian independent music both in Canada and around the world.