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Streaming wars get nasty - Spotify burying Apple Music exclusives, report says


Apple Music

Reports on Friday have claimed Spotify is deliberately punishing artists who’re offering exclusive content to Apple Music.

A New York Times piece asserts the Swedish streaming giant is withholding promotion of acts who make deals with the enemy.

That means once the period of exclusivity ends, Spotify are less likely to include it within playlists or the album prominently feature it within listings; effectively limiting visibility.

The report says:

“Executives at two major record labels said that in recent weeks Spotify, which has resisted exclusives, had told them that it had instituted a policy that music that had benefited from such deals on other services would not receive the same level of promotion once it arrived on Spotify; such music may not be as prominently featured or included in as many playlists, said these executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private negotiations.”

Spotify has declined to comment on the report, which comes during a week when streaming exclusives have been making headlines.

The boss of the industry leading Universal Music Group (UMG) Lucian Grainge has reportedly banned the practice among the company’s labels.

This came in response to the negative reaction to Frank Ocean’s new album Blonde, arriving as an Apple Music exclusive seemingly without gaining permission from Universal.

Do you think Spotify is within its rights to punish artists who seek exclusive deals? Or could such a move be deemed childish behaviour from the clear market leader?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Prem Desai

August 26, 2016, 9:54 pm

As long as it's clear upfront, then why not?


August 27, 2016, 1:57 am

Exclusives should be punished. They try to make us pay for more than one service. We don't need a Netflix/Amazon Video style divide.

Spotify et al should provide all the music we want and compete on the basis of price and functionality.

And if they don't then piracy will rise again.


August 27, 2016, 9:20 am

Spotify should be applauded for their bravery. Exclusives only serve to swing the balance of power away from artists and consumers and towards themselves. Further, by building barriers to customers changing supplier they reduce competitive pressure on price and performance across the industry, so it is refreshing to see one supplier resist joining the game.

Mark Stanbrook

August 27, 2016, 5:58 pm

It seems perfectly fair to me. You give someone else exclusive access to your music before we get it? Fine, we'll put you in a lower tier of promotion. They are protecting their business and as a by-product protecting their users by making exclusives that exclude their users less likely to happen.

On the flip side music labels are seeking to make more money by asking for more money for exclusive plays and hoping the rest of the market just sucks it up. Well if they turn out to make less money because the rest of the market punishes them for it, then they won't do it again!

Of course if it now goes and happens in reverse - Spotify get an exclusive then claim they're in the right when someone else complains - that'd be hypocrisy.

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