Is this the beginning of the end of free streaming? Spotify limits top artists’ new albums so ONLY paying customers can listen to them
- Music streaming service Spotify has signed a deal with Universal Music Group
- The service is under pressure from artists such as Adele and Taylor Swift
- Top artists can now limit new album releases to paying customers for two weeks
Music streaming service Spotify has signed a deal with Universal Music Group that lets top artists limit new album releases to paying subscribers for two weeks.
Spotify is under pressure from artists such as Adele and Taylor Swift who have in the past boycotted the usually free service over concerns about royalty payments.
Adele kept her best-selling album 25 off the streaming service for seven months after its release.
The new multi-year licence agreement with Universal Music could make Spotify more attractive to Universal Music’s artists, who include Taylor Swift, Adele, Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Kanye West.
‘We know that not every album by every artist should be released the same way, and we’ve worked hard with UMG to develop a new, flexible release policy,’ Spotify Chairman and Chief Exeuctive Officer Daniel Ek said in a statement
‘Universal artists can choose to release new albums on premium only for two weeks, offering subscribers an earlier chance to explore the complete creative work, while the singles are available across Spotify for all our listeners to enjoy,’ he said.
Spotify said the deal also covered collaboration on marketing campaigns and would give Universal Music ‘unprecedented access’ to data.
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, added: ‘In a market this dynamic, one evolving more rapidly than ever before, success requires creative and continual re-evaluation of how best to bring artists’ music to fans.’
Spotify did not disclose details of the agreement in the statement, such as the fee structure or its exact duration, and a company spokeswoman declined to provide further information.
Launched in 2008, Spotify said last month it had reached 50 million paying subscribers, a rise of 25 percent in less than six months.
It also said it has a total of 100 million active users both free and paid with most revenue coming from subscribers who pay £9.99 a month to use the service.