Spotify reportedly in ‘private talks’ to limit free streaming options

Call it the “Taylor Swift effect.”

After much backlash, it appears Spotify may finally budge and give some artists the ability to release albums only to paying Spotify Premium subscribers. The market-leading on-demand streamer reportedly told music executives about the new feature in “private talks,” according to the Wall Street Journal, and explained that its initial roll-out will be a “test.”

Currently Spotify requires artists on the service to offer their music to both paying subscribers, and free, ad-supported (dubbed ‘freemium’) users, the latter of which account for at least 55 million of Spotify’s 75 million active users at last count.

This ‘everything freemium’ model, as U.K. trade publication Music Business Worldwide calls it, has resulted in some blockbuster artists, including Taylor Swift, Radiohead, and many others to boycott the system. Swift has been particularly vocal against Spotify’s freemim policy, calling Spotify a “grand experiment” in an interview last year, and pulling her music from the service.

Most recently, Coldplay allowed only paid music streamers like Apple Music, Tidal and Rhapsody the rights to stream the band’s new record A Head Full of Dreams for the first week after its December 4 release date. The band will, however, give Spotify the rights to stream the record beginning on Friday.

It’s not just artists who have complained about Spotify’s freemium tier, though. Major record labels have advocated against the model, asking Spotify to limit the amount of music that free users can access according to various reports. “Ad-funded on-demand is not going to sustain the entire ecosystem of the creators as well as the investors,” said Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge over the summer according to the Financial Times. On average, Spotify’s paying subscribers bring in nearly 10 times as much revenue as the platforms much larger allotment of free users.

Yet, it sounds like Spotify isn’t fully conceding to artists and record labels yet. The service is still “100 percent committed to our model,” said Spotify exec Jonathan Prince to Music Business Worldwide. “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.”

We’ll keep you updated on how this all shakes out.

Movies & TV

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex, a $5-a-month service aimed at cord cutters

For $5 a month, Xfinity Flex gives existing Xfinity internet subscribers a 4K- and HDR-ready set-top box that can stream video from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, as well as free TV from apps like Cheddar and ESPN3.
Movies & TV

Want free movie tickets? Beam these ads into your eyeballs for 15 minutes

Would you watch ads for 20 minutes to earn a free movie ticket? MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes bets you will, and he's launching PreShow, a new app with some pretty advanced technology, to prove it.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Stream UFC Fight Night 147: Till vs. Masvidal free with ESPN Plus trial

Another UFC event is coming this Saturday, with Fight Night 147 pitting Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal against each other. If you’re looking for a way to watch it for free, then now’s the time to start your 7-day trial to ESPN Plus so…
Home Theater

SoundCloud hopes to add listeners with 50 percent discount for students

SoundCloud launched a student discount for it's top-tier SoundCloud Go+ membership, dropping the price to just $5 a month. It's a good deal for students, but will it be enough to keep the music platform from going under?

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.
Home Theater

iPhone owners can finally hear the highest-quality streaming music on Tidal

If you're an iPhone owner who is after the highest possible audio quality from your streaming library, you now have the best option out there: Tidal's Masters Quality Audio (MQA) is now available on iOS.
Home Theater

Get loud with the best outdoor speakers to rock your party in any weather

From rugged, solar-powered backwoods listening companions to floating pool party jam boxes, the best outdoor speakers partner with your lifestyle to let you listen to your favorite tunes wherever you go.

Apple Music offers a few subscription options. We break them down here

Competition for music streaming apps is quickly dwindling with giants like Apple Music and Spotify dominating most of the market? But how much does Apple Music cost and what does a subscription to the music-streaming platform entail?
Home Theater

If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, you now get Hulu for free

Spotify Premium subscribers have yet another reason to love the Swedish streaming service, with the company now offering ad-free Hulu accounts to all premium users at no additional cost.

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Home Theater

Apple Music completes its Amazon migration, is now available on Fire TV

Amazon's popular Fire TV devices are now compatible with the most popular on-demand music streaming service in the United States, thanks to a new integration with Apple Music that has finally hit Fire TV devices.
Emerging Tech

This streaming music service pays artists in Bitcoin, plants trees if you listen

Feedbands is an environmentally friendly subscription streaming music service that pays its artists in Bitcoin, and plants trees in exchange for authenticated listens from customers.