Spotify is considering letting a handful of artists release new music to paying subscribers only. According to the Wall Street Journal, the streaming service is reversing course on its business plan because major stars, like Taylor Swift, are unhappy with the company’s current policy that all music must be released to both paying and non-paying customers.
A source told WSJ that Spotify will roll out the new policy first as a test. Before firmly committing to the policy, the company wants to test how it affects their subscription (most of Spotify’s paying customers are first non-paying customers) and they still need to decide which artists will be released to paying customers only. WSJ notes that:
“Even on an experimental basis, it is a big reversal for Spotify, which has so far maintained unequivocally that its free, ad-supported service needed to have all the latest tunes so that it could compete with free sites [...]”
The decision appears to be a compromise with larger labels and artists who view paid streaming as the future of the industry. Swift, for example, asked Spotify to release “1989” to paid subscribers only, when Spotify refused, she pulled her album entirely. More recently, Adele withheld “25” from all streaming sites, leading to record-breaking album sales in the first week.
The decision looks like it could potentially be a hard one for Spotify. If it moves away from the free model, as WSJ suggests, it could risk alienating both smaller labels and new users. Guess we’ll have to wait and find out if the Jezebel staff might have to pay for all of the embarrassing music that it listens to.
Image via Getty.