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An Interview with Elena Segal, Global Director of Apple's Music Publishing Division

1 C cover Apple Music Global Director of Apple Music's publishing division


Last year Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Launches new Music Publishing Division that will also Include a sub-division to Develop Songwriters." Apple appointed Elena Segal to operate the new division. Elena's experience included being Legal Director of iTunes International where she oversaw a range of legal and licensing matters for iTunes and Apple Music. Then in 2015, she headed up global licensing for the launch of Apple Music itself, which arrived in over 100 markets simultaneously.


2 x elena segal global director music publishing


Reporting to global Apple Music boss Oliver Schusser, Segal just oversaw an interesting addition to her team, with the hire of Google’s Lindsay Rothschild, who last month became Apple Music’s Head of Creative Services, Music Publishing, North America.


One year later and Music Business Worldwide (MBW) sat down to interview Segal.


Q-MBW: "Apple has stood by the Copyright Royalty Board's (CRB) decision, which could increase songwriter royalties in the States by at least 44%. Others, like Spotify, have appealed it, and been accused of effectively ‘suing songwriters’ as a result. What does this tell us about Apple and how it’s differentiated from rival services?"


A-Segal: "It tells us that Apple really cares about creators and the process of creation, and wants to give life to a healthy creative ecosystem. The concept of [maintaining] a sustainable business model, while supporting the creative ecosystem, is fundamentally important to us. That differentiates us from other services anyway, but our position on the CRB has further differentiated us.


With the position we’ve taken on the CRB, that type of stance isn’t actually new. Apple has been fighting for over a decade to make sure that money flows and songwriters get paid. We’ve definitely done way more than anyone else on that kind of thing. We just haven’t shouted about it.


With the position we’ve taken on the CRB, that type of stance isn’t actually new. Apple has been fighting for over a decade to make sure that money flows and songwriters get paid.”


Q-MBW: "Why is publishing considered worthy of its own division at Apple Music?"


A-Segal: "Because without songwriting and publishing, there is no music. It’s fundamental to everything.


Publishing is something we’ve always taken care of, but it wasn’t until last year that it had a seat at the management table. It was absolutely necessary.


Songwriters and publishers shouldn’t be an afterthought; I think some services do consider them a sort of afterthought, or an inconvenience. They are not an inconvenience at Apple. They are a fundamental part of the ecosystem.


To just consider songwriters an inconvenience – not to tackle the issues and actually make sure that the creators get paid – is a massive mistake."


Q-MBW: "These issues aside, ultimately, when you look at the entire music publishing ecosystem, do you feel positive about its future?"


A-Segal: "I really do. I actually think it’s an amazing time to be in this part of the business.


For one thing, there is more engagement by songwriters [in industry issues] than I’ve ever known before. The activism and engagement in the US around the MMA and the CRB, it’s been an extraordinary sort of energy.


I think that’s going to turn into extraordinary creativity, and a lot more impetus to get problems fixed. I’ve been working for over a decade now to try and keep the money flowing, and to get the money flowing when it stalls – and, of course, to generate more money for publishers and songwriters.


We have a better chance to do that today than ever before."


For more of this interview, check out the full MBW report here.


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