I know, you’re tired of hearing, “Frank Ocean’s new album is amazing!!!” Me too. I’m interested less in the album itself, and more in what it means for the future of music.
With a pair of Apple Music exclusives, Frank Ocean pulled a fast one on his old record label — and shook up the the entire record industry. It’s the latest indicator that Apple sits at the center of a rapidly evolving music industry, where rules and strategies are changing by the minute. Now everyone from Spotify to Universal Music Group is frantically trying to figure out what to do.
Negotiations between music streaming service Spotify and all three major record labels have hit a snag lately and Apple Music is a big reason why.
Spotify’s licensing agreements with Sony, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group have reportedly been on a rolling month-by-month basis for much of 2016, yet the companies haven’t been able to hammer out long-term deals yet because Spotify isn’t willing to share as much revenue as Apple Music.
Amazon is said to be in the final stages of negotiations with record labels over licensing deals that would allow the online retailer to launch a competitor to iTunes Match. It has reportedly reached agreements with Universal Music Group and EMI already, and is now close to wrapping up deals with Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Bros. as well.
Several musicians who are involved in a class action lawsuit with Universal Music Group are demanding to see sensitive documents from a previous case that involved Apple. The documents include trial exhibits, expert reports, and a deposition from Steve Jobs that reportedly caused one judge to order almost everyone out of the courtroom.
Apple sees the material as “highly confidential” and strongly objects to handing it over. But why is the company trying so hard to keep this mysterious document under wraps?