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They're licensing the music. Whether they make any revenue or not doesn't matter.

You can't hand out other people's stuff for free and then refuse to pay anything because you didn't make any money from it. And I'm saying that as someone who thinks the current copyright system is incredibly broken.

You can if that is the terms by which you licensed the music.

Likewise an artist can choose not to have their music on the service.

Unless Apple threatens to remove their music from iTunes if they don't agree to be on Apple Music as a few indie artists have publicly stated.

That point is valid, but Apple is trying to create a de-facto monopoly and even now it's really an oligopoly (which is only marginally better but in many ways worse). In such situations the power balance shifts dramatically and for many artists the choice they have is philosophical at best.

Unless the contract with their label says otherwise.

I mentioned that only to illustrate why they'll likely be paying a flat fee during the trial, rather than a percentage of the (non-existent) revenue.

They are not handing out music for free. They incur costs, such as IT costs, marketing costs, plus the costs of having amassed hundred of millions of users. You could just as easily turn your argument around: the musicians incur zero costs for putting their music on Apple Music.

So did record stores. They had rent, signage, advertising, staff salaries and electricity bills to pay. You can't say because we have costs to sell your music, that we should be able to take those costs and pass them to the music artist and consider that payment for their product.

Except they aren't passing any costs to artists. There is exactly zero marginal cost for artists. Artists make their music available for free for a mere three months in exchange for Apple making a massive investment in the service. Keep in mind that 99.9% of artists don't even make any real money from streaming royalties anyway, especially during such a small window! And if customers like the service, they'll pay and presumably be members, as part of the world's most powerful ecosystem, with higher royalty rates than other services, backed by a deep-pocketed company that will promote the living hell out of it. How is this a bad thing??

That would be relevant if record stores charged artists for their operational costs.

It doesn't matter how much money you make. You're using someone else's property and that's what you pay license fees for. Although I generally object the equivalence of physical and intellectual property -- this isn't any different from selling physical goods:

If you want to give a thousand records away practically for free, you still have to buy the thousand records and the producer has no obligation to give you a discount just because you're not going to make money with it. Not even if you have to pay for the cars to pick up and drop off the records and the wages of the people delivering the records. If you want to burn your own money, nobody is stopping you. But don't ask other people to add their money to the pyre for free.

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