Chicago-based independent record label Drag City has released nearly all of its back catalog of music — which began with the label’s inception in 1990 — onto Apple Music this past weekend. To celebrate the addition, Apple has created a new banner for the record label, allowing subscribers to listen to Drag City playlists categorized by various genres and artists.
In its description of the label, Apple Music explained that this marks the first time ever that most of Drag City’s music has been made available on a streaming service, and the launch is exclusive to Apple Music. The press release by Drag City noted that its “entire(ish)” catalog is now available on Apple’s music streaming service, but it didn’t specify which songs or artists might be missing (via Spin).
“Daring, irreverent, ferociously independent — Drag City is one of our favorite labels. Over the last three decades, it’s become a place where artists and iconoclasts have found a home to further their vision, whether it’s symphonic, harp-driven Americana or meditative doom metal. With the Drag City catalog now available to stream for the first time, we’re celebrating the label alongside a few people who have helped to make it so singular.
Outside of the new launch, a few Drag City artists and songs have been made available on Apple Music over the past few months, most notably related to some of Joanna Newsom’s albums. Now, users can stream nearly every label released under Drag City’s banner, including albums created by Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Ty Segall, Royal Trux, Smog, Six Organs of Admittance, and many more.
Previously, Drag City was one label which was adamant about keeping its artists’ music off of streaming services, namely Spotify, although it did release content onto YouTube. In the spring of 2015, ahead of the release of Apple Music, Drag City explained that it withheld music from streaming platforms due to a lack of “fair compensation” for its artists, and that subsequently its content would just be “cannon fodder for the service.”
— Drag City (@dragcityrecords) August 18, 2017
Now it appears that Apple gave the label an enticing enough deal to finally allow users to stream Drag City albums. Users can find these albums in Apple Music > Browse > New Music > and then swipe through the featured banners until Drag City’s banner is shown. Besides a new “Best of Drag City” playlist that includes a mix of all artists, Apple has also broken down the label’s music into the following genres: Folk & Americana, Rock, Comedy, and Experimental.
As Apple Music grows, Apple has repeatedly launched exclusive albums, partnered with musicians to debut Apple Music ads, and used artists’ social media to promote listening to their songs on Apple Music. As of WWDC in June, Apple Music had 27 million paid subscribers.