Digital Music News says the contracts it has seen have a non-negotiation clause for the music service that is designed to help push the online retailer’s Prime subscription service for two-day shipping on purchased products. It claims that “limited downloads” will also be included as part of the hybrid music service that could, based on the 1st May deadline for contracts to be signed, be coming in a matter of weeks (although what territories it will roll out in are not made clear).
It was claimed last month that Amazon had offered the labels fixed rates for the same (proposed) service but this varied wildly depending on what size the labels are. The indies, apparently, were being offered $5m between them (paid out pro rata to each label depending on how many plays their music accumulates) for a year, with the majors sharing $25m between them.
There is a huge amount of contradictory information surrounding all of this. In the leaks around the label deals in March, Billboard spoke to some record companies that said Amazon was digging its heels in while others suggested it was open to negotiation. Other sources at the time said the service would only be focused on certain titles (i.e. a selective, rather than a complete, service) while yet more sources said the deals covered entire catalogues.
Amazon, for now, is saying nothing. The latest leaks, however, would seem to suggest a pattern – namely that the smaller players are being offered less-than-attractive contract terms with no wriggle room whatsoever. This stands in sharp contrast to the terms Beats Music has claimed it has given labels – saying that indies and majors alike are getting the same rates.