The latest development from Spotify has locked out about 50 million users from listening to free music releases from top artists.
Spotify to Restrict Some Music Only to its Paid Subscribers
In a serious change, music on Spotify will only be available to paying customers. Spotify normally allows both paying and free subscribers to access music, but major recording labels have insisted that new releases should only be given to premium customers only. One singer, Taylor Swift pulled out her music from Spotify because she believed that music should not be free.
Currently, a premium user pays only 9.99 pounds and gets access to ad-free music which can be downloaded for offline playback.
To date, Spotify is the largest player in the music streaming industry; they have about 100 million users split up as 50 million paid and 50 million unpaid subscribers. These figures are much larger than those for Apple (20 million) and Tidal (3 million). The reason that Spotify has such a large subscriber base has been because of the free tier that it uses as a marketing tool.
Only Spotify Premium Members will have Complete Access to all Music
Once Spotify enacts these restrictions, they will benefit from having to pay less as royalty fees to labels per stream, and get rights to stream exclusive releases from artists like Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Kanye West, all of whom have only allowed their releases to be played on paid tier subscribers on Tidal and Apple Music.
According to record labels, the free tier which is used as a marketing tool can have detrimental effects. Granted, it pays lower royalty fees per stream, but it can also be used to cannibalize other audiences, affecting album sales and also discouraging users from upgrading to a premium status. Taylor Swift put up a very strong case when she pulled her music from Spotify. She said that Music is an art, which is very rare; important and rare things are valuable and therefore all music should be paid for and not given out for free. For now, Taylor Swift’s music is under time-limited free trials on YouTube, Amazon Music and Apple Music.
So with this restriction, users having free access to Spotify will be completely disappointed. However most of the premium users will welcome this move as this will ensure a much better benefit and service for them. We will have to give Spotify some time to see the result of this move on them.