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Report: Apple threatens to remove bands’ music from iTunes if they don’t agree to new royalty policy

on June 18, 2015, 12:35am

Although Apple is rather late to the streaming business, it looks as though the company may be trying to bully its way to the top.

Last month, it was reported that Apple, along with a host of record labels, was pressuring Spotify to reduce its “freemium” service. Now, Apple’s been accused of “threatening” artists who refuse to comply with Apple Music’s free “three-month trial.” The promotion, though seen as an incentive by would-be Apple Music subscribers, does not favor artists: During that trial period, the tech behemoth will forgo paying royalties to all rights holders.

Anton Newcombe, frontman for psych rock outfit Brian Jonestown Massacre, claims that an Apple representative told him that all of his band’s music would be removed from iTunes if he declined to accept Apple Music’s non-royalty policy.

Not surprisingly, Newcombe did not take the threats lightly and proceeded to put Apple — which he calls a “devil” and “a satanic corporation” — on blast in a series of angry tweets this morning. “Devils – they shouldn’t threaten people to work for free.its not ok for these fucking idiots to decide art has no value,” he wrote in one of them. (Note: In his tweets, though he tags an unofficial Apple account, Newcombe maintains that an official rep contacted him.) Check out more below.

Update – Wednesday, 12:15 p.m.: In an email to Consequence of Sound, an Apple representative has refuted Newcombe’s claims, saying that artists are free to choose whether or not to be part of the subscription service (including the “three-month trial”) without any repercussions.

Newcombe is not alone in his sentiments. Beggars Group (which houses labels 4AD, Rough Trade, and XL Recordings) and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon have expressed their concern over Apple Music’s “three-month trial.”