So Apple has finally agreed to pay artists and the labels their due during the 3 month trial period that they are giving users, but how much will they be paying, you ask? According to a report from The New York Times, Apple will be paying out 0.2 cents per stream during the trial period and presumably it will go higher once the user has subscribed.
Note that this is 0.2 cents, not 2 cents, not $0.20, but a fifth of a cent, meaning that artists will need to have their song played 500 times just to make a dollar. Let’s not forget that the revenue will then be split between the label and the artist, who might have to split it even further with their managers, publicists, and so on, so yes you can imagine how many streams one needs in order to actually make money from this.
The New York Times report also mentions that the 0.2 cents fee does not include the payment that will go towards songwriters and music publishers. Typically deals made with labels and publishers are separate, and the report claims that Apple is still negotiating the fees with the publishers at the moment which has since been confirmed by several publishing companies.
For those a little confused between the two groups, labels are usually the companies that “owns” the artist, while publishers own the songs or at least represent the songwriters who will then sell their songs to labels for use with their artists, which is why there needs to be separate deals.