The streaming wars are at an all time high, given that Apple Music has been growing at a pace which isn’t comfortable to its competitors like Spotify, TIDAL and Pandora.
After weeks of speculation, Spotify has today inked a new licensing deal with Universal Music Group where premium users of the service will have access to select new releases up to two weeks in advance of the global date. The releases will of course be restricted to artists under the Universal umbrella. Top artists are expected to make use of the new system going forward.
In a statement, Daniel Ek, Chairman and CEO of Spotify, said, “This partnership is built on a mutual love of music, creating value for artists and delivering for fans. We will be working together to help break new artists and connect new and established artists with a broadening universe of fans in ways that will wow them both. We know that not every album by every artist should be released the same way, and we’ve worked hard with UMG to develop a new, flexible release policy. Starting today, Universal artists can choose to release new albums on premium only for two weeks, offering subscribers an earlier chance to explore the complete creative work, while the singles are available across Spotify for all our listeners to enjoy. I want to thank Sir Lucian for his leadership in everything we have done so far and in everything that we will do together to deliver on the promise of the new music economy for all the people who make music and all the people who love it.”
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said, “Eight years ago, when streaming was a welcome but small source of revenue, UMG embraced partners like Spotify as a way to help return music to a vibrant future benefitting the entire ecosystem. Working hand in hand with these digital services brought us the industry’s first real growth in nearly two decades. Today, streaming represents the majority of the business. Our challenge is transforming that upturn into sustainable growth. In a market this dynamic, one evolving more rapidly than ever before, success requires creative and continual re-evaluation of how best to bring artists’ music to fans. At UMG, we’ve not only reimagined distribution models and technologies, but entire business models. The only constants must be great music and fair compensation for artists and creators. To that end, the long-term success of Spotify, and others like it, is essential to the ecosystem’s enduring health. I congratulate Daniel on Spotify’s continued growth and innovation, and I look forward to working together with him and his team to develop exciting new ways to connect artists and fans around the world.”
This move is interesting because last August, Grainge had ordered his company to stop entering into exclusive deals with streaming services. We wonder if they have the right systems to combat the leaks because it’s going to get even more complicated going forward.