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Apple Should Be Ashamed of Itself

Stocks in this article: AAPL P

While Apple might never use music in association with other types of programming, it's covering itself in case it decides to do so.

You created and/or performed a song (note: this stipulation, as far as we know, applies only to performance royalties, not songwriting) and Apple wants to use it to enhance another type of programming, but it doesn't want to pay you -- the independent label and performer -- for the use of your work in that capacity. What's next? Apple not paying for music it uses in its commercials or in spots it puts together for iAd network advertisers?

And somehow Pandora gets branded with the tag of trying to shortchange artists.

A source sent me some thoughts on the iTunes Radio contract for indies. This person noted that Apple will not pay the indies through SoundExchange (fair enough) and "negotiated" a rate that, ultimately, ends up lower than Pandora's. There's only one thing wrong with that statement.

Apple, from what I understand, didn't negotiate a damn thing!. It's saying "Here's our offer, Indies, take it or leave it." Of course, Apple has the right to do this. It has the right to use its power, size and scale to create the best deal it can for itself and its shareholders. But, if you're discussing what's good and what's not so good for the music industry, particularly independents, an old adage applies: With friends like Apple, who needs enemies?.

It's not even about the amount Apple pays per song or the percentage of ad revenue it shares (which, by the way, also screws the music industry), it's about the company doing whatever it can do to get out of paying for all of the music it streams.

While I can't necessarily get with it, there's validity in the argument that there's nothing wrong with Apple serving its own interests, even if it's at the expense of working musicians. We're talking about a multi-billion dollar corporation after all, beholden to a slew of stockholders. But it is curious that Tim Cook can make a dog and pony show of working conditions in China, while gleefully continuing sweatshop conditions for independent artists here at home and abroad.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.
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