Beggars Slams Apple Music's Free Trial as 'Taking the Mium Out of Freemium'

Martin Mills
Michael Crabtree/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Martin Mills of Beggars Group Ltd in London. 

The mounting concern over the free three-month trial period that Apple Music will offer to subscribers for its interactive streaming service may soon be evolving into an outcry from independent labels and publishers.

Today, the Beggars Group questioned why they, their artists, and other rights owners should bear the cost of Apple Music's customer acquisition. Moreover, the label worries that the Apple move will result in more free music, and thus less revenue for rights owners.

"Given the natural response of competing digital services to offer comparable terms, we fear that the free trial aspect, far from moving the industry away from freemium services -- a model we support -- is only resulting in taking the "mium" out of freemium," according to the statement on the label's website.

Finally, in a roundabout way, the label wonders if the majors and their artists also will be participating in the free trial period and foregoing payments. This statement adds to the disappointment voiced by AIR, Australia's independent music companies trade body, and the concern voiced by A2IM, the U.S. indie label trade group.

Apple Music Has Yet to Contact Indie Publishers, But Will Probably Pay Them More

The Beggars statement went on to say: "In many ways the deal structure is very progressive, but unfortunately it was created without reference to us, or as far as we know any independents, and as such unsurprisingly presents problems for us, and for our coming artist releases. We are naturally very concerned, especially for artists releasing new albums in the next three months, that all streaming on the new service will be unremunerated until the end of September.

While voicing their concerns, each -- Beggars, AIR and A2IM -- also note Apple has long been a valued partner.