Some changes are coming to Spotify's free service. As stated in an announcement of a multi-year license agreement with Universal Music Group, releases under the label can now be given a 2-week paywall, restricting access from free users for the first 14 days of being shared on the network.

While the deal currently only applies to artists signed under UMG, The Financial Times has reported that Spotify is also in talks with Sony and Warner.

Read an excerpt from the announcement below.

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.

Spotify's competitors Apple Music and Tidal do not offer free streaming whatsoever. In December 2016, it was reported that Spotify still had a considerable lead in paid subscriber-base.