Does Apple Music’s new $ 4.99 Voice subscription mean less money for artists and labels?


While Apple Music’s new Siri-based “Voice” subscription offer at $ 4.99 is good news for consumers, what does it mean for artists and record labels?

First the basics: Designed around Siri voice commands, the new Apple Music Voice plan includes access to all playlists, custom mixes, genre stations and Apple Music Radio for $ 4.99 per month, or half of Apple Music’s usual level at $ 9.99 per month.

This half-price plan appears designed to compete with Amazon Music Unlimited’s $ 3.99 plan which, unlike the Apple Music Voice plan, is tied to a single device. Another target could be Spotify’s free streaming offering, which is growing in popularity as more and more new users try Spotify through podcast listening.

More paying users for Apple Music usually means more income for artists. But this time around, the increase in income is likely to be small.

The royalties for labels, publishers and artists are calculated based on a percentage of Apple Music’s revenue, so these new $ 4.99 subscriptions will pay about half of the usual Apple or Spotify Premium subscriptions of 9. , $ 99 in royalties to artists, labels and music publishers.

Factor in the loss of revenue from subscribers of $ 9.99 per month who spend to save money as well as those who would have ended up paying $ 9.99, and the long-term positive effect on the royalties of the new one. Apple Music Voice plan could be negligible.

Bruce houghton is Founder and Publisher of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and is Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is Founder and Chairman of the Skyline Artists Agency and Professor at Berklee College Of Music.

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