Spotify has grown to become one of the largest and most profitable streaming services. Since its inception in 2006, the Swedish-based company has provided music fans access to over 30 million songs, a figure that grows each day. Over recent years, however, Spotify has faced a growing backlash from artists and fans concerned over the companies payout rate to musicians and songwriters, which is far smaller than that of other services such as Tidal and Apple Music. A growing number of influentials artists including Beyonce, Adele, and Taylor Swift have withheld their work from the streaming service. Others, such as Kanye West and Radiohead, have released their latest albums exclusively in other services and formats for a limited time, incentivizing fans to forgo Spotify for alternative services.
Spotify seems to be providing incentives of their own to keep musicians from exclusives with competitor streaming services. According to the Times, the company’s executives have informed several major labels of a new policy that music exclusively released by competitor services will not be promoted on Spotify or included in as many playlists. Spotify declined to comment on these reports.
Lack of Spotify promotion has the potential to be more influential than one may expect. The platform is largely socially driven, connecting listeners to new bands through advertisements and curated playlists have led artists to be discovered and shared by fans. Bloomberg reports that users have charged Spotify for burying artists in search rankings, a claim the streaming services has denied.
Global head of communications Jonathan Prince spoke to Mashable about the issue. “We believe long-term exclusives are bad for artists and they’re bad for fans,” Prince said in a statement. “Artists want as many fans as possible to hear their music, and fans want to hear the music they’re excited about—exclusives get in the way of both. Of course, we understand that short promotional exclusives are common, we don’t have a total policy against them, and we certainly respect the choice of artists to decide what’s right for them.”