Skip to main content

Spotify reportedly punishing artists who release exclusives on other streaming services

spotify vs. pandora
Spotify does not share. The music streaming service is making quite clear the extent of its jealousy in the face of competitors like Apple Music. A Bloomberg report asserts that “Spotify has been retaliating against musicians who introduce new material exclusively” on other services.

Bloomberg’s sources, who are purportedly “people familiar with [Spotify’s] strategy,” further noted that these artists’ songs are made harder to find on Spotify, and the artists have been told that their songs won’t be included on featured playlists. Moreover, Bloomberg says, artists have “found their songs buried in the search rankings,” and, shockingly enough, this has apparently been going on for about a year.

The last few months have allegedly gotten particularly nasty for those who dare to break with Spotify, with artists who have given exclusives to either Tidal or Apple Music apparently targeted by these practices. The latter certainly serves as the biggest threat to Spotify’s music-streaming empire, boasting more than 15 million subscribers since it first hit the scene last June.

And while Spotify claims more than 30 million subscribers globally, Apple’s exclusive deals with popular musicians including Drake, Chance the Rapper, and Frank Ocean may be giving the Swedish company a serious run for its money.

Sure, such big name artists may not need the additional boost from Spotify, but for lesser-known musicians, Spotify’s practices may be a real cause for concern. After all, music fans often turn to Spotify’s curated playlists to discover new tunes. But exclusives, like those Apple depends upon, can be a bit limiting in and of themselves, forcing listeners to use a specific service. And it’s not just fans who are suffering — artists don’t seem to be that thrilled, either.

“The unprecedented run of exclusives by digital music services has put a tremendous strain on the relationship between artists and their record companies,” Larry Miller, an associate professor of music business at New York University’s Steinhardt School, told the New York Times with regard to Frank Ocean’s Blonde. “We are seeing that play out in public now.”

“Artists want to be fully empowered to control their careers, and they don’t want the old school to tell them what to do,” noted Doug Davis, a music industry lawyer. “Ultimately there has to be a resolution between the major labels and the artists that allows them to control their destinies and cash in on the financial opportunities that are out there.

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
Apple Music still trails Spotify as growth continued for music streaming in 2019

Apple Music may have made great strides in 2019, but Spotify remains on top of the music streaming industry that saw a significant boost in subscriptions last year.

Online music streaming subscriptions across the world increased by 32% in 2019, for a total of 358 million subscribers, according to the latest findings of Counterpoint Research. The firm attributed the steady growth of the industry to factors that include exclusive content such as podcasts, and promotions such as reduced subscription prices and bundle offers from carriers.
Spotify vs. Apple Music
Spotify continues to dominate, with 31% of the music streaming industry's total revenue and 35% of total paid subscriptions. Counterpoint analyst Abhilash Kumar said that Spotify was able to maintain its top spot due to promotions such as a free three-month trial for Spotify Premium, discounts, customized campaigns, and a focus on providing exclusive content to subscribers.

Read more
Spotify Wrapped gives a personalized look at who you listened to most in 2019
spotify wrapped most streamed artists tracks albums 2019

Later this week, Spotify will be unveiling its personalized Wrapped stats. It's a chance for Premium users to look back at the year that was and see which artists, songs, albums, genres, and podcasts captured their attention in 2019. Spotify has offered both a public and a personalized set of Wrapped stats in the past, but this year the company is expanding its view of the music and spoken-word world to an entire decade.

The Wrapped toolset, which also reveals facts like how many minutes of music you heard and how many songs you liked, has traditionally only been accessible via a custom website, making it a bit awkward to use. Last year, it required a bit of a hunt to find it. This year, however, Spotify is unlocking Wrapped's potential as a social sharing opportunity: The Wrapped experience will also be available within the Spotify app itself, and share cards will be available for you to post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Read more
Spotify starts testing real-time lyrics to enable karaoke experience

Spotify has started testing real-time lyrics in select countries, shortly after Apple Music rolled out the feature with the launch of iOS 13.

Users outside of the United States have reported seeing lyrics synchronized with song playback in the Spotify mobile app. Screenshots taken by these users show that the feature, which is powered by Musixmatch, is located under the playback controls. There is also an option to watch the lyrics on full screen, which should make it easier to sing along with them.

Read more