A music industry executive has said that Apple is creating 'magic money' for rightsholders with its iTunes Match service.
Jeff Price, the founder and CEO of TuneCore, said that the service had resulted in "magic money that Apple made exist out of thin air for copyright holders".
"iMatch monetizes the existing behavior of the consumer for copyright holders and artists. Consumers don’t need to do anything new—they just need to listen to their pre-existing music," Price wrote on his blog.
"Apple charges consumers a fee of $25 a year to subscribe to the iMatch service. Once a consumer pays the fee for the service, iTunes will scour the consumer’s computers or iPhone or iPads, and make all of the songs already on these devices available for the subscriber to re-download or stream on demand. If the song is in the iTunes music store, then the subscriber does not need to upload the song. Each and every time the consumer either re-downloads or streams a song he or she already has, copyright holders get paid."
TuneCore is an online distribution service for music and brokers deals for artists and rightsholders to get their music into online stores such as iTunes and Amazon's MP3 Store.
It deals with independent musicians and labels so Price's views can't be taken to represent the large chunk of the music industry covered by the big four labels - EMI, Sony BMG, Warner and Universal - but as he points out "before you were getting zero, now you are getting something".
Artists signed up to TuneCore might not yet be sure about how much money they will rake in from the first royalty payments - Price says it has received $10,000 - however, it is undoubtedly true that many of the artists will have had increased exposure because they are signed up to the service.
However, Price still wants to see more innovation in the digital music arena. "The music industry needs innovation. Services like iMatch, Spotify, Simfy, Deezer and others are bringing that innovation—it will take some time to learn which are the ones consumers want. But in the interim, seeing an additional $10,000+ appear out of the thin air for TuneCore Artists by people just listening to songs they already own is amazing!"