If you’re using Spotify for free then you’re about to lose access to new albums for two weeks after they’re released. This is thanks to a new deal forged between Spotify and Universal Music Group, which will see paying customers prioritized over users who listen to ads instead.
Spotify and UMG have been negotiating a new deal for two years now. We don’t know exactly why the negotiations took so long, but both parties have now agreed to a new deal. This is good for Spotify, good for Universal, good for paying customers, and bad for those listening for free.
Spotify’s New Flexible Release Policy
According to Music Business Worldwide, Universal artists will now be able to hold their album back from Spotify free users for two weeks, making them exclusively available to Premium subscribers. In return, Universal is thought to have agreed to lower payouts as long as Spotify keeps growing its subscriber base.
Daniel Ek, the CEO and founder of Spotify, said:
“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. Starting today, 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.”
On paper this isn’t much of a hardship. There has never been an album released that I couldn’t wait two weeks to listen to. However, this represents Spotify conceding defeat in order to secure a deal with a major record label. And it could be a slippery slope as the labels flex their muscles.
Turning Free Users Into Paying Customers
This is a deal designed to help Spotify turn free users into paying customers. Spotify’s reward for doing so will be a larger cut of the revenues. For Universal, this is all about reminding people that music is worth paying for, a fact some forgot when piracy was biting hard.
Spotify has more deals to make, with Warner Music Group and Sony Music Group also negotiating new contracts with the music streaming service. We have to assume they’ll secure similar concessions. However, it remains to be seen whether this softens Taylor Swift’s hatred.
Do you use Spotify? Do you pay for the privilege or listen to ads instead? Is this development likely to make you pay for Spotify? Or are you happy to wait a couple of weeks to listen to a new album? Should Spotify make everyone pay? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Michael Fötsch via Flickr