Spotify wants its free users to pay up.
Over the weekend, Drake’s much-anticipated playlist/album More Life released on all streaming services. It’s unclear if the decision to eschew exclusivity on Apple Music for all the streaming services came from Drake’s camp or someone higher up in the organization, but the end result was that the era of the streaming exclusive may have been coming to a close. However, there may be another restriction on the horizon for Spotify users – free users, specifically.
According to a report from The Verge, Spotify is currently renegotiating its licensing deals with major labels to reduce their payments ahead of an impending IPO. As part of those negotiations, Spotify has reportedly agreed to restrict some high-profile releases to only paying users, so in the future that More Life release will only be available to paying Spotify subscribers.
This is a big change for Spotify, which has steadfastly refused to participate in the exclusivity arms race that Apple Music and TIDAL have engaged in. In turn, Spotify users have had to wait to hear releases like Views, Anti and The Life of Pablo. However, the Swedish streaming company has still been able to amass a huge listener base of over 100 million total users, and over 50 million paying subscribers.
We don’t have a firm date of when these changes will go into effect, but it may not be for many months. We’ll keep you posted here with new developments.