Spotify plans to make some music available only to paid users in a major change to its service. Non-paid users will not be allowed to access some big album releases on the streaming music service.
Shenzhen, Guangdong -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/21/2017 -- As the largest streaming music service in the world, Spotify has now agreed with multiple major record labels to restrict some of the biggest new albums releases to its paid users only. The Financial Times on Thursday reported that Spotify is in talks with "the world's largest record labels" to limit "the biggest album releases to its paid tier for a period of time." These non-paid users who currently listen to Spotify for free will not be able to access the latest releases from some top artists, like Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Beyonce.
Unlike its rivals Apple Music and Tidal, Spotify allows paid and non-paid users to access to all the same songs. Paid users get extra benefits like offline playback and ad-free listening. The premium tier currently costs $9.99 per month. Spotify has the largest paid user-base in the music streaming industry. It is reported that the company has 50 million paying subscribers and another 50 million free users who use the service at least once a month. Those figures are much more than Apple's most recently reported figure of 20 million subscribers and dwarfs Tidal's 3 million.
Spotify has for a long time attributed at least some of its scale to the value of its comprehensive free tier as a marketing tool. And now the company is considering to change it. By restricting some music from free users, Spotify aims to gain a reduction in royalty fees paid to the labels per stream, and a chance at exclusive releases from artists like Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Beyonce, all of whom have been restricted new albums to the paid users of competing services such as Apple Music and Tidal.
It is reported that Taylor Swift once refused to put her new album on Spotify in 2015 because the company would not restrict the new album to premium users only, an incident that sparked heated debate over how music should be valued and whether ad-supported music streaming services pay artists properly. Swift's songs are still available under time-limited free trials on services including Apple Music and Amazon Music, as well as on YouTube.
Non-paid users for Spotify once could make use of some third-party music recording software to get any music on Spotify for offline playback. But now, they have to pay for $9.99 per month to listen and download new music on Spotify after the company make some new album releases available only to paid users.
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