Rights and pricing basics
While streaming makes the music distribution process seamless — it’s not as easy as recording a song and pressing share. Listeners can only add music to their Apple Music library or click Buy on the iTunes Store after you have set up rights and pricing.
Understanding music rights
Rights govern the licensing and legal permission for the use and sale of music in specific countries and regions on the iTunes Store. These rights are set during the initial upload and can be updated via our delivery tools at any time by modifying the metadata.
If you’ve lost the rights to sell music on Apple Music and the iTunes Store, contact us for assistance disabling your content for download.
Understanding price tiers
Price tiers allow you to set the price of your releases on the iTunes Store. Your most recent music agreement determines your price tier availability. If your deliveries do not include a price tier, Apple will automatically assign a price to your release.
- Wholesale and retail pricing
- Applying price tier changes
Note: Admin or Technical users can use iTunes Connect to adjust territory rights, wholesale prices, sales start dates, and Apple Music and iTunes Store start dates.
Wholesale and retail pricing
It is important to note that Apple establishes retail prices for price tiers in each territory at our sole discretion. You can set a wholesale price for playlists (albums, EPs, and singles) and tracks for every country or region where you have rights to sell your music. This ensures that you’re compensated fairly for your distribution efforts.
Visit the iTunes Connect Music Rights and Pricing User Guide to see additional price tier information.
Applying price tier changes
Unless otherwise scheduled, price tier changes made to albums and music videos are reflected immediately on iTunes Connect and within 48 hours in the iTunes Store. Price tier changes for playlists and tracks that have been previously scheduled on a specific day will go into effect as soon as possible on the scheduled date, based on that country or region’s time zone.
We cannot make exceptions for price tier availability. If you submit a release with an invalid price tier, your album, song, or music video will be set to the designated default price tiers:
For additional information, see the iTunes Package Music Specification.
Apple understands that there are multiple ways to deliver your music where exceptions to the guidelines listed above may apply. Such instances include:
- Multivolume Album Pricing. Because multivolume albums typically cost more than a single volume album, we may multiply the retail price for the chosen price tier by the number of volumes. The iTunes Store will not sell a full album for more than the price of the sum of its tracks.
An album can only cost more than the sum of its songs when the album includes:
- Bonus Materials. Songs, music videos, or digital booklets that are not included on the physical release of the album.
- Album-Only Release. Songs or music videos that cannot be sold individually.
In all other scenarios, the release would remain hidden until the pricing discrepancy is addressed by a metadata update.
To learn more about removing rights from multiple products at a time within iTunes Connect, refer to Making Batch Clearance Removals.
Just as obtaining music clearances allow the legal right to use protected musical property, ensuring your releases have the correct rights set in specific territories increases worldwide discoverability.
Ensuring your artists’ release has the appropriate agreements and territory rights in place before delivery decreases the likelihood of any availability or clearance issues once the release has gone live.
You can only sell music in the countries or regions where you have agreements in effect and the appropriate rights to sell music. For releases to appear on Apple Music and the iTunes Store, you must have:
- A contract In Effect for that territory
- The required banking and tax information
- Territory rights assigned for that specific country or region
Visit Album and track changes in iTunes Connect to set or remove territory rights availability in iTunes Connect.
If you have a new territory agreement still in process, you will be notified in iTunes Connect when the agreement is set up. Your release will be live in that territory at that time. You can verify the markets where music is available by accessing a Catalog Report in iTunes Connect.
Although you have the ability to add rights for a territory where you do not have an executed agreement, your release will not be live in that territory until its corresponding territory agreement has completed processing. To view the status of your agreements or request agreements for additional territories, go to Agreements, Tax, and Banking in iTunes Connect.
Use iTunes Connect to check that all tracks on the physical album were delivered and marked with the correct clearances. Visit My Music to add rights for a territory or to request reports for single items.
Releases not cleared for sale
If a release is not yet cleared for sale, you should still encode the track into iTunes Producer when creating your album, but make sure to deselect the Cleared for Sale checkbox in the Edit Track Rights section in iTunes Connect.
Any tracks delivered as not cleared for sale will not appear in Apple Music or the iTunes Store. You can redeliver at a future date to mark these tracks as cleared for sale if you gain rights to sell them or reset clearance in iTunes Connect.
To learn how to manage the rights of your release, visit the iTunes Connect Music Rights and Pricing User Guide.