Apple Music paid very handsomely to lock down some major exclusive releases last year.
First came Drake’s Views – a two-week streaming exclusive on the service, and a key part of a deal rumored to be worth $19m.
Then there was Frank Ocean. He was also rumored to have picked up a multi-million cheque from Apple to secure his (controversially) self-released effort, Blonde – as well as ‘video album’ Endless – as windowed streaming exclusives.
For Chance The Rapper, however, a more modest agreement was reached.
The Grammy winner has revealed that he was paid $500,000 by Apple for a two-week exclusive deal for Coloring Book – widely regarded as one of the best albums (technically ‘mixtapes’) of 2016.
Coloring Book was a fully independent release, having been distributed directly by the label-less artist – who retained all his copyrights.
As such, it has become a torchbearer for the idea of self-releasing acts aiming for blockbuster commercial success – and a precursor to the likes of British MC Stormzy’s Gang Signs And Prayer, which recently hit No.1 on the Official UK Albums Chart.
“[Apple] gave me half a mil and a commercial to post Coloring Book exclusively on Apple Music for 2 weeks… artist[s] can gain a lot from the streaming wars as long as they remain in control of their own product.”
Chance The Rapper
After being released on May 13 last year, Coloring Book became the first streaming-only release in history to chart on the Billboard 200, peaking at No.8.
The record, which features the likes of Kanye West and Young Thug, was the 72nd bestselling album in the US last year.
In a series of tweets on Friday, Chance The Rapper – real name Chancelor Bennett – responded to claims that Apple had heavily funded his career to date, and notions that this somehow rendered him less ‘independent’ than portrayed.
“I never felt the need to correct folks on my relationship with [Apple] but now that more people have tried to discredit my independence,” wrote the artist.
“I wanna clear things up.[Apple] gave me half a mil and a commercial to post Coloring Book exclusively on Apple Music for 2 weeks
“That was the extent of my deal, after 2 weeks it was on SoundCloud for free. I needed the money and they’re all good people over there.
“I feel like if I didn’t clear it up people would keep trying to discredit all the work we did to make Coloring Book what it became.”
He added: “I think artist[s] can gain a lot from the streaming wars as long as they remain in control of their own product.
“I just wanna remain transparent. Folks out there without a [label] deal need to know they’re doing everything right just keep at it.
“If you come across [opportunities] to work with good people, pick up cash and keep your integrity I say Do It.”Music Business Worldwide