The two sides had been operating on a month-to-month basis for two years, and now there is a long-term deal that will make sure UMG artists stay put on the popular and growing Streaming pure-play. The New York Post is reporting that in return for retaining a larger slice of revenue, Spotify will give Universal more say in which artists’ new releases are kept off the streamer’s free tier. You may recall Taylor Swift, distributed by Universal, being unhappy about her music being given away for free.
CNBC is reporting that the deal includes some of UMG’s popular artists having the option to release albums on Spotify as Premium-only for two weeks. That would include artists such as Swift, Drake, Kanye West, Paul McCartney, and Andrea Bocelli. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek says that’s designed to offer subscribers “an earlier chance to explore the complete creative work, while the singles are available across Spotify for all our listeners to enjoy.”
UMG CEO Sir Lucian Grainge added, “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 reevaluation 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.”