Not content to simply be a conduit for music, over the past year Apple has quietly been taking steps that could ultimately lead to the creation of its own music label, mirroring for Apple Music what the company has been building for its upcoming Apple TV+ service.
Last year, Apple Music formed a new publishing division as one of the first major initiatives by then newly-minted Apple Music VP Oliver Schusser. Apple’s former Legal Director of iTunes International, Elena Segal, was tagged to head up the new division as Apple’s Global Director of Music Publishing. Segal, who is a well-known and respected figure in the music industry, was given the mandate of discovering up-and-coming songwriters that Apple could establish direct relationships with — basically looking for hidden gems that could be promoted directly by Apple to help give its music service a more unique place in the industry.
While we haven’t heard much about the fledgling division since then, it now appears that Apple is forging ahead with another high-profile executive hire for the team. According to Variety, Apple has managed to woo Lindsay Rothschild away from her role leading songwriter and publisher relations for Google’s YouTube Music, appointing her as the new Head of Creative Services Music Publishing for North America.
In her new role, Rothschild will be responsible for building strong working relationships with the songwriter community, while also helping rights-holders better understand what’s available to them within the Apple ecosystem to assist them with their musical compositions, such as Apple’s GarageBand and Logic tools. One of her key tasks will also be to demonstrate to songwriters how they can maximize their returns through a partnership with Apple.
Prior to joining Google in 2015, Rothschild also worked in product development with Disney Music, and creative and business technology with Warner Music before that. Industry sources applaud Rothschild’s prior track record, saying that she is uniquely able to “speak and understand the language of songwriters.”
Apple’s attempt to strengthen relations with songwriters comes at an opportune time for the company. In the midst of a royalty battle being waged against songwriters by almost all of the streaming media giants like Spotify, Amazon, and Google, Apple has been able to sit on the sidelines as a neutral party, watching its rivals shoot themselves in the foot as artists publicly denounce them, while at the same time gaining major kudos from the music publishing community.
Meanwhile, although the social media revolution has allowed songwriters to gain more independence from traditional music labels and streaming services, many in the industry feel like the deck is still stacked against them as they struggle against companies like Spotify that have begun talking out of both sides of their mouths — pretending to be a friend to songwriters on the one side while launching backroom campaigns that “could set songwriters back decades.” Apple’s ability to position itself as the “good guy” and “friend to songwriters” will go a long way toward any ambitions the company may have for setting up its own Apple Music label and gathering new talent under its wings.
This article was originally posted here