Spotify may block free users from listening to new music

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Spotify
Spotify won't be quite as spectacular for those who won't pay.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Spotify users who aren’t paying $9.99 a month for a Premium subscription could be prevented from listening to the hottest tracks.

A new report claims the Swedish music streaming company is nearing new deals with major music labels, which stipulate that top releases will initially be available only to paying users.

Spotify is one of the few streaming services that allow users to listen to unlimited, ad-supported music, albeit with some restrictions, without paying a monthly subscription fee. That’s great for fans who can’t afford the $9.99 a month, but it’s long been an issue for artists and labels.

So much so that some, famously Taylor Swift, have refused to make their music available on Spotify.

This hasn’t dissuaded Spotify from offering ad-supported music, though it has introduced some restrictions (like limited skips) in an effort to encourage users to pay up. Now rights holders want to introduce even more if Spotify is going to secure new deals.

According to The Financial Times, the major labels want the hottest new tracks to be blocked from those who don’t pay when they debut. It’s unclear how long this block would last, but it could depend on how long a track remains in the top charts.

Ironically, this is the same arrangement Swift wanted in 2015 when launching her “1989” album. Adele wanted the same for “25,” which launched later that year. With Spotify refusing to restrict access to free users at the time, both artists withdrew their releases.

Now it seems as though the company is coming around to this arrangement, though it’s likely it has little choice if it wants to secure new deals with the biggest names. The FT expects negotiations with Universal, Sony, and Warner to be wrapped up within the coming weeks.

Spotify is bar far the biggest music streaming service right now, with more than 30 million tracks and over 100 million active users as of last June. However, only half of those users are paying for a Premium subscription.

Via: Business Insider

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  • aardman

    I read somewhere that most people stop listening to new music somewhere around age 26. So this restriction will only affect younger customers/listeners.