Spotify punishing artists who sign exclusivity deals with competitors

By , Aug 26, 2016

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Spotify has been punishing musicians who introduce new material exclusively on other streaming services, reports Bloomberg. Artists who have given Apple premier access to new music have been told that their songs won’t be placed on featured playlists.

The Swedish music company has been using such practices for about a year, say sources, and the efforts have escalated during the past few months. Artists who have given exclusives to Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service have seen similar forms of retaliation.

Artists who have given Apple exclusive access to new music have been told they won’t be able to get their tracks on featured playlists once the songs become available on Spotify, said the people, who declined to be identified discussing the steps. Those artists have also found their songs buried in the search rankings of Spotify, the world’s largest music-streaming service, the people said. Spotify said it doesn’t alter search rankings.

[…] The company has threatened to use its retaliatory practices on lesser-known artists who introduce music on a Beats One show hosted by DJ Zane Lowe, an architect of Apple’s radio service, the people said. One representative of a singer-songwriter said the client canceled plans to debut a song on Lowe’s show because of concern that the artist would lose promotion from Spotify. The agent asked not to be identified, and that the artist not be named, to avoid damaging relationships with the music-streaming companies.

Spotify is in a tough spot right now. It’s currently trying to lower its revenue sharing obligations with record labels, and has eyes on filing for IPO by the end of 2017. The company didn’t turn a profit at all last year, despite earning over $2 billion in revenue.

So there’s a war going on between streaming services, between artists and streaming services, and between artists and their record labels. All over exclusivities. Earlier this week it was reported that UMG has banned its musicians from making exclusive deals.

Source: Bloomberg

Update: Spotify tells Recode that Bloomberg’s report regarding it altering search results is “unequivocally false.”

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  • Melvco

    So Spotify is saying that all of these artists Bloomberg spoke with are lying? Or is this plausible deniability? Also it doesn’t seem like they’re denying that they intentionally leave [unfavorable] artists off featured playlists, which is still pretty sketchy. “Here are this week’s top hip hop artists (minus that one guy who signed a deal with Apple Music)”

  • Marko 31

    I am going to quit my Spotify subscription right now and by myself new iphone 7 and subscribe to apple music because its the best.

    • Josh Venegas

      Apple Music sucks dude. You’ll be sorely disappointed.

      • Millticket

        Agreed, still buggy and all that shit, Spotify is atleast well usable for free if you got the right tweaks.

  • Loke

    So long as Apple Music pushes Beats Rap and Hip Hop crap long live Spotify. Apple Music sucks absolutely hate it.

    • Carlos B

      Rap/Hip Hop is the new rock (in terms of popularity etc., also coming from a rock fan). They’d be stupid not to push it.

      • Chris Ryan

        rap/hip hop is dead guys, has been for years…atleast to mainstream djs and radio

      • Loke

        I understand that doesn’t mean I can’t complain! I guess the world just sickens me. Every day I see young people of all races listening to hardcore gangster crap rap and all I can is shake my head when I really want to snack them on theirs. My first two albums were Zenyata Mondata and Tatoo You. They blew my mind with actual musical talent.. Apple has become a turn off for me for reasons like this among others. Guess the middle aged white guy just isn’t there target market. But F it K digress…

      • Hey, I’m 20 and I also hate that Beats 1 plays nothing but hip hop. I wish they’d play more classic rock, or at least have multiple stations. P

      • Loke

        Agreed there is so much amazing music out there to discover and they flaunt the absolute edge of what can be considere true music.

      • bashir

        Tell him more

    • bashir


  • Carlos B

    Just waiting for Apple to acquire Tidal to nail Spotify’s coffin.

  • Sharkey311

    Scumbag Spotify. Not surprised.

  • Gabriel Anaya

    So let me get this straight.

    They’re trying to get more exclusives but at the same time, trying to pay less than before and now they’re being assholes behind the scenes to artists who make some deals with other providers.

    They wonder why they’re not making profits? They wonder why they’re not getting any big exclusives lately?

  • HipHop along with other genres of music is personal preference. There is no bad or good music in a sense. Music is like food, it’s very selective to the individual based on his or hers likes or dislikes but that doesn’t mean it’s bad overall or good overall. It’s enjoyed by those who like it and disliked by those who hate it.

    • bashir


  • Xee

    Spotify aren’t punishing the Artists they are punishing the middleman ie UMG etc that are money making bloodsucking wastes of space. Musicians should sell their music direct to streaming services and take all of the profits.

    Win win for Artists and Consumers

    • You can’t sell something you don’t own.