As we get closer to new streaming rates, from the Copyright Royalty Board, things are starting to get very interesting in the world of Streaming. Ever since Apple entered the arena there’s been a lot of jostling by the companies trying to rule this space. And, of course, artists and labels want more of the money the pure plays are bringing in, even though they struggle to reach profitability. Now comes word from the Wall Street Journal that Spotify is considering an overhaul of its business model to get in the good graces of the artists.
The Journal says Spotify is “caving in.” The Spotify business model has always allowed all of its users having access to the same catalog of music. Some pay for the service ad-free. Others have to listen to ads. According to The Wall Street Journal, Spotify has told music executives that it’s considering allowing some artists to start releasing albums only to its 20 million-plus subscribers, who pay $10 a month, while withholding the music temporarily from the company’s 80 million free users. You may recall Taylor Swift pulling her entire catalogue from Spotify. The Journal story says Swift asked Spotify to make her album available only to paid subscribers, and decided to pull her catalog entirely when they refused.
The question is how would Spotify decide who gets to hold back their music and how many artists will they anger if certain artists are treated differently. Apparently Spotify first agreed to allow Coldplay to put its new album on the paid service only. That agreement was withdrawn when the band could not guarantee that the album would appear on other free sites like YouTube.