Monthly Archives: June 2015

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Beggars Group Issues A Statement on Apple Music Service

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Beggars Group, home to 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, XL and Young Turks has yet to sign a deal to make their music available on Apple’s forthcoming streaming service (slated for release on June 30).  Today, Beggars issued a statement on the reasons why. Here’s what they had to say;

To Beggars Group Labels Artists and Managers:

We thought it was time to update you on the situation with Apple Music, following speculation in the press, some of it ill-informed. Apple have been a wonderful partner for the last decade, and we confidently trust they will continue to be so. We have recently been in discussions with Apple Music about proposed terms for their new service. In many ways the deal structure is very progressive, but unfortunately it was created without reference to us, or as far as we know any independents, and as such unsurprisingly presents problems for us, and for our coming artist releases. We are naturally very concerned, especially for artists releasing new albums in the next three months, that all streaming on the new service will be unremunerated until the end of September. Whilst we understand the logic of their proposal and their aim to introduce a subscription-only service, we struggle to see why rights owners and artists should bear this aspect of Apple’s customer acquisition costs.

And given the natural response of competing digital services to offer comparable terms, we fear that the free trial aspect, far from moving the industry away from freemium services – a model we support – is only resulting in taking the “mium” out of freemium.

We are also naturally concerned, as ever, as to whether we and you are being treated on a level playing field vis a vis the major labels and their artists. Additionally, we have reservations about both commercial and practical aspects of the Artist Connect area. It is a mistake to treat these rights as royalty free, especially in the light of recent licenses with services like Soundcloud.

At the moment we do not have an agreement with Apple Music that would allow us to participate in the new service. However, we very much hope that the obstacles to agreement can be removed, for us and for independent Merlin-member labels as a whole, and that we will be able to fully support this potentially exciting new service in the coming days.

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Label Spotlight: Stones Throw

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In 1996, after recording for many labels as an artist/producer, Peanut Butter Wolf (real name Chris Manak) realized he enjoyed promoting records just as much as recording them and became confident that he could succeed in running a label. So Stones Throw was born with its first release being “My World Premier”, the first record Peanut Butter Wolf recorded with his late friend/rapper Charizma.  Since then, Stones Throw has grown into a multi-generational, international powerhouse in the underground music scene. In regards to the music on the label, Manak has said “I put out what I personally like and save the rest for the other labels out there.”

The label has gained fame for releasing acclaimed hip-hop records, including Madvillain’s (a collaboration between producer Madlib and MF DOOM) highly-acclaimed debut album Madvillainy in 2004, as well as J Dilla’s album Donuts, which was praised by Pitchfork Media with a perfect 10/10 score, saying “It’s a widely praised favorite for so many people, and yet there’s something about Donuts that feels like such an intensely personal statement”.

Today Stones Throw continues to be one of the leading names in underground hip-hop circles with a cult following and was recently featured in the documentary “Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton.”