Motive Unknown boss expands on concerns over Apple/Linkfire deal


Last week, we reported on Linkfire’s data-attribution deal with Apple Music, as well as the strings attached which included the stipulation that to get the data, people had to put Apple Music in top spot on their smart-link landing pages. When we wrote our story, criticism of these requirements had been led by Darren Hemmings, founder of marketing agency Motive Unknown, on Twitter. Later on Friday, he wrote a blog post outlining his concerns in more depth.

“Apple is placing artists and Direct-To-Consumer retail in the middle of its battle for dominance with Spotify. If artists dare to place a D2C store above Apple Music on Linkfire, they will not see valuable conversion data,” he wrote. “The consumer doesn’t lose out here: they will still see the list of links, and if we’re being honest, the order in which they appear is unlikely to have much effect on what people click on. A Spotify user will click on the Spotify link, an Apple Music user on the Apple Music one and so on. The only victims here are the artists and their teams working to get the best possible results for a release.” He cites the potential for Spotify to make the same demand – top placement in smart-links in return for attribution data – as a nightmare situation for artists and labels, who’d have to decide which service to prioritise.

“At a fundamental level then, ostensibly holding data insight for ransom in return for preferential placement is wrong, and we would strongly urge Apple to re-think this strategy. Share the conversion data with artists. Open that conversion insight up for all artists to access, whether they are using Linkfire or not. Be the better people in that regard, as it will foster immense goodwill and in turn deliver strong support…”

Stuart Dredge

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