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Longtime label holdout Drag City puts catalog on Apple Music

Independent label Drag City has added most of its back catalog to Apple Music, reversing a previous stance calling for better artist compensation.




Some of the musicians under the label include Smog, Ty Segall, Will Oldham, Joanna Newsom, and Bonnie "Prince" Billy. The company said that its "entire(ish)" catalog should now be ready to stream, according to Spin.

In fact parts of the catalog have gradually trickled onto Apple Music over the past few months, such as albums by Newsom and Billy.

The addition should give Apple a small edge over its chief rival, Spotify, which is still missing large swaths from Drag City artists. In the case of Joanna Newsom for instance, none of the folk singer's albums are available —only three songs from projects like the 2011 "Muppets" soundtrack.

Labels like Drag City have often complained that streaming services pay too little to support artists, who must instead tour and sell merchandise to make the bulk of their income —even Apple pays just a fraction of a penny per song played. Streaming, however, has become a dominant form of consumption, likely making it difficult to ignore. It's unknown if Apple offered any special deal to Drag City.

Resistance was especially heavy in a brief window before Apple Music was launched, since Apple initially planned to skip paying royalties from listeners still on their free three-month trials. The company reversed course, largely because of a boycott threat by pop singer Taylor Swift.