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Apple could disrupt whole music streaming industry with new royalty proposal

Apple has proposed a simpler process for paying songwriters and publishers for streaming their music – and even if you use one of Apple’s competing music services like Spotify, it’ll likely still affect you.

Apple’s preliminary proposal, which has been submitted to the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board, details an ‘all-in’ payment of $0.00091 per stream, which after 100 streams, would equal the payment services make for made for one regular song downloaded via iTunes or a similar service.

The proposal might make it simpler for Apple and more lucrative for artists, but it’s likely to make it harder for competing services to offer a free tier, or push up the prices of their paid one.

The key difference between the model Apple is proposing and the current one that most streaming services use is artists would now be paid based on the number of times their song is played, as opposed to based on their total revenue. Royalties for streaming are currently calculated and paid to royalty collectors and publishers who then distribute the money. Furthermore, streaming companies only pay out between about 10.5-12 percent of their overall revenue – not a huge amount.

If the move goes through (which could take a year or two after review) it is highly likely to be a huge benefit to the overall music industry.

It was announced that Apple Music would be overhauled in iOS 10 at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June – catch up with our roundup of all the key announcements from the event.