Sony Music and Sony/ATV are both holding out on striking a deal with Apple for its soon-to-be-announced online radio service - a decision that is reportedly frustrating Warner and Universal.
From the Sony/ATV side, boss Marty Bandier is demanding a higher rate of pay for songwriters, who have traditionally only accrued around a twentieth of the value of a recorded music sale.
From the sale of a song on iTunes, for instace, the retailer (Apple) will take 30%. Of the 70% that goes back to rightsholders, around 15% will be passed to the publisher, with the vast majority going to the record company. What an artist or songwriter ends up with is dependent on their deal, but usually the publisher will pay out more of a percentage of the money earnt to their client.
According to The New York Post, Bandier wants the publishers' overall share of revenue accrued from iStream to rise from 5% to 50%, but would accept a rise to 10% or 15% as a first step. BMG is believed to be backing Bandier's mission, and is also yet to sign a deal with Apple.
Universal has already signed a global licence deal with Apple, with Warner set to sign imminiently. However, both of these companies own their own record label and publishing companies - Sony is only a part owner of Sony/ATV/EMI.
Bandier certainly appears to have the backing of some star talent. Pharrell Williams, who co-wrote current Daft Punk smash Get Lucky, said: "“Marty [Bandier] is fighting for the fair value and rights of songwriters, and that’s essential in the digital world that we live in.”
“There’s a frustration,” one senior music executive told the Post. “[The Apple streaming service] is a net positive for the business. Apple is offering a 50/50 ad revenue share, minimum guarantees and royalties and the most successful ecosystem that’s ever been created. Unlike Pandora, the up-sell opportunity is enormous.”
Apple declined to comment.