Spotify To Offer Premium Only Content In Massive U-Turn

After 7 years of stubbornly facing adversity Spotify look to introduce exclusive content for Premium subscribers.

In the wake of criticism from various artists this year, like Taylor Swift, Adele and Coldplay who decided not to release their new albums on the service (immediately at least), Spotify are looking to deviate from their roots. According to a report from Wall Street Journal Spotify have told music executives that they are considering allowing some artists to release their albums only for premium tier users.

Reportedly, Spotify will begin offering exclusive content as a test, examining how “windowed” content will affect the music streaming service’s usage and subscription rates. Spotify are also undecided, or haven’t yet revealed, who will be the first artist to withhold their content from free users.

It may not seem significant but this is the first time Spotify have ever looked at such an approach, maintaining until now that free and premium users should both have access to all music. Spotify did begin subtly offering premium content last month with its In Residence playlists, artist/expert hosted radio shows in playlist format.

A few months ago Universal Music Group’s chief executive Lucian Grainge said that changes would come to Spotify’s freemium model, saying: “While ad-supported, on-demand music definitely has a place, whether that’s as part of discovery or trials of new products and offerings, freemium alone is inadequate to support our critical ecosystem of artists, labels and the platforms themselves.”

But fear not free users as it’s unlikely that there will be any significant changes to the freemium model as it stands as Spotify’s most popular model by far. In a blog post last year, responding to Taylor Swift’s catalog removal from Spotify, CEO Daniel Ek said: “Our free service drives our paid service.”

It’s clear that people aren’t happy about the platform of free streaming, whether that be fair or not, so it makes sense that Spotify would rectify their service to try to please everyone. Hopefully Spotify will be able to successfully find a middle ground where artists can choose whether to make their music exclusive to premium or not, eventually releasing for both user tiers.

This is similar to what Coldplay and Spotify agreed to do for their latest album, although they couldn’t make it premium exclusive they decided to leave it off the service for a week after its release, making it available for all users at the end of this week. This is similar to Adele as well whose last album was held for roughly a year before appearing on the service. Now if Spotify can just get them to put it on Premium instead of completely holding it from the streaming service then we may see a system that works for all.

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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