Apple Music will pay up to $50 million of indie label royalties in advance

The tech giant set up the fund to help musicians struggling in the face of COVID-19.

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PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 08: In this photo illustration, the logo of the music streaming platform Apple Music is displayed on the screen of an iPhone on April 08, 2019 in Paris, France. The number of paying subscribers to the music streaming service of Apple Music has for the first time exceeded that of Spotify customers in the US. The two platforms now have 28 and 26 million paying users, respectively, sources told the Wall Street Journal. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
Chesnot via Getty Images

Apple is setting aside $50 million to help musicians signed to indie labels affected by the coronavirus pandemic. According to Rolling Stone, the tech giant sent an email to indie labels, telling them that it has set up a $50 million advance royalty fund to help them pay their artists.

Apple will offer royalty advances to labels that earn at least $10,000 every quarter from Apple Music and have a direct distribution deal with the service. The amount will depend on the label’s past earnings and will be recoupable against its future earnings on the platform. In its email, Apple said it will offer them the advance in good faith that they’ll use the money to help their struggling artists and fund their operations in order to stay afloat.

The company wrote in its letter:

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“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.”

Some of Apple Music’s rivals also previously banded together to come to musicians’ and industry workers’ aid. Amazon Music, Facebook, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, Tidal and YouTube Music pledged to contribute to MusiCare’s COVID-19 relief fund. Spotify made it easy to donate to artists, as well, and vowed to match up to $10 million in donations. Meanwhile, SoundCloud and Bandsintown are helping artists earn money from their online concerts streamed via Twitch.

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