Even with albums now going platinum based on streams, the entire matter of streaming in the music industry is something that’s still in flux.
Today, Spotify struck a multi-year worldwide licensing deal with Universal Music Group to add some more stability to its part of the marketplace by creating a “flexible release policy.” Essentially what this means is that Universal artists will be able to choose to keep their albums behind the Spotify Premium paywall for two weeks before they are released across the entire platform.
Of course other services, such as Apple Music and TIDAL, don’t have a free component, so Spotify is arguably behind the game in some ways. And as of now, the service has only reached this “windowing” deal with Universal Music Group and not Sony, Warner or EMI.
One question that’s created by Spotify’s move: What happens when an artist doesn’t want to put their new work behind the premium wall? Is there then going to be tension between the label and the artist? Who gets final say? And just what will this to do to address piracy issues? The move is made, in part, to make Spotify more money, but it might end up fostering more pirating and taking money from Spotify’s pockets.
Find the streaming service’s full announcement here.