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Spotify Will Restrict Free Access to Latest Releases

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Old 03-20-2017
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Podcast Spotify Will Restrict Free Access to Latest Releases

Spotify Will Restrict Free Access to Latest Releases

50 million Spotify users who now listen music for free will be unable to access new tracks from some top artists. The service has announced a major change, which would see making some music available only to paying customers.

Before, all music on Spotify has been available to both free and paid users. However, the company has now agreed with several record labels to restrict some of the new releases to members who pay $9.99 a month to get access to offline playback and ad-free listening.

Spotify enjoys the largest paid user-base among music streaming companies, accounting for 50 million paying subscribers and 50 million free users. This is much more than Apple’s 20 million users and Tidal’s 3 million, but Spotify is the only service providing a comprehensive free tier. Now the service decided to restrict some new music from free users in order to gain a reduction in royalty fees paid to the labels. It can also get a chance to stream exclusive releases from such musicians as Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, who have restricted new albums to the paid tier.

Music labels claim that the free tier, which pays lower royalties, can cannibalize other audiences, hit album sales and lower the incentive to upgrade to the paid service. Besides, there is a point of principle underlying the debate for some performers, including Taylor Swift, who pulled all of her songs from Spotify. The artist claimed that music should not be free, as it is an important and rare art. In the meantime, Taylor Swift’s songs are still available under time-limited free trials on the rival streaming services such as Apple Music and Amazon Music, as well as on Google’s YouTube.
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