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Spotify may withhold music from free tier

Spotify is reportedly considering a new approach that would see certain content walled off from non-paying customers.

At present, non-paying Spotify customers can access exactly the same content as paying subscribers – albeit in a more restricted fashion. That could soon change, however.

Last year’s high-profile spat with Taylor Swift saw the pop star withdrawing here entire catalogue of music from Spotify. Swift didn’t like that people could effectively listen to her music for free, and wanted it to be available to subscribers only.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Spotify could be ready to cave in to such demands.

A recent report claims that Spotify has told music executives it is considering allowing certain artists to make their albums available only to the service’s 20 million paying customers. It seems this would be a temporary situation, with Spotify’s 80-million free users gaining access some time later.

Such plans are far from definite at present, the report claims, and will be tested out ahead of a decision. Spotify understandably wants to determine how such a “windowed” approach will affect usage and sign-up figures.

It seems the precise identity of the artists enabled to apply such limitations is also undecided, though we would assume it would only apply to megastars like Taylor Swift.

Still, it would mark a major turnaround from Spotify, which has always stuck to its guns concerning free access to its content up to now. Spotify, for its part, has responded to this latest report with the following comment (via The Verge):

“We are 100 percent committed to our model because we believe that a free, ad-supported tier combined with a more robust premium tier is the best way to deliver music to fans, create value for artists and songwriters, and grow the industry.”

Related: Why musicians hate Spotify

The statement then goes on to reference the recent launch of Coldplay’s latest album, which was made available on both its paid and free tiers.

Still, Spotify doesn’t explicitly deny or even address the report’s claims of future walled-off content.

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