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

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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