Apple Music launches $50 million COVID19 advance royalty fund to help indie labels

According to a new report from Rolling Stone, Apple Music has started a $50 million COVID-19 advance fund for indie labels. Through this fund, Apple will be able to ensure that artists still get paid despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple announced the new fund in an email to independent record labels this afternoon. Those labels who have a direct Apple Music distribution deal and earn at least $10,000 in quarterly Apple Music earnings will qualify for the advances on future royalties.

Apple says that this program is in good faith that advances will be funneled to “arts and label operations based on financial need.” The email explains:

Royalty advances will be offered to independent labels with a direct Apple Music distribution deal who meet a minimum quarterly threshold of $10,000 in Apple Music earnings. Each advance will be based on the label’s past earnings, and will be recoupable against the label’s future earnings. This offer is in good faith that labels will channel funds to artists and label operations based on financial need.

In the email, Apple says that this is its way of helping during what are “difficult times for the music industry globally.”

These are difficult times for the music industry globally. Livelihoods are at risk, with multiple sources of income that our industry relies on vanishing overnight. Apple has a deep, decades-long history with music, and we are proud to be in close partnership with the best labels and artists in the world. We want to help.

As Rolling Stone points out, the music industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Concert tours and major festivals like Coachella have been delayed or canceled entirely. “Most musicians rely on live touring revenue, as do venue workers, tour managers and many other live crew members who are now out of work,” the report explains.

Read the full report from Rolling Stone here.

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