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Apple paid Chance the Rapper $500,000 for a two-week exclusive

A rare look inside a music industry deal.

The 59th GRAMMY Awards - Show
Chance the Rapper performing at the 2017 Grammy awards
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Apple has been upfront about the fact that it has been paying artists to stream their songs exclusively on Apple Music. But it hasn’t ever talked about how much it pays them to do it.

Now one of its stars has spelled it out: Chance the Rapper, who won the best new artist award at the Grammys this year, says Apple paid him $500,000 to put his “Coloring Book” album out on Apple Music, for a two-week window.

After that, Chance, who isn’t signed to a music label, could do whatever he wanted with the album. So he put it out on SoundCloud, for free.

Chance explained the mechanics of his deal on Twitter today:

Chance’s tweets are noteworthy because the music industry is rarely clear about who makes what from music.

They’re also the first time an artist has talked candidly about their relationship with Apple Music, which has roiled the industry by offering lots of money for short-term windows, which means albums won’t be streamed on rival services like Spotify.

That practice has lots of critics, from both rival services and from music labels, which worry that keeping music on a single platform reduces its value. Apple execs argue that it’s just basic marketing and not a big deal — a message Apple media boss Eddy Cue reiterated at the Code Media conference last month.

One sign that criticism may have some effect: Drake, who has prominently aligned himself with Apple Music, has new music coming out this weekend, which will be available on multiple services.

One possible explanation for that change: Drake is describing the project as a “playlist,” not an album.

An Apple rep declined to comment.

This article originally appeared on

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