Spotify punishing artists who sign exclusivity deals with competitors

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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.”