Spotify is changing the way it offers access to music, with certain artists—on certain labels—being given the opportunity to set up a paywall for the first couple of weeks of release, to ensure maximum profit for their efforts.
The change in policy was part of a larger announcement made by the streaming music service Tuesday, about a new deal between Spotify and Universal Music Group.
News of that deal, which will “advance their partnership to ensure that streaming realizes its full transformational potential for artists, labels and fans by delivering a comprehensive range of music experiences, providing more flexibility for new releases, and collaborating on innovative marketing campaigns across Spotify’s platform,” because press release — was followed by a quote from Spotify CEO and Chairman Daniel Ek, in which he laid out a new system that lets artists delay the full release of their work on the platform.
“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,” Ek explained. “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.”
Currently, the system is only for Universal Music artists, although the Financial Times suggests similar deals might soon follow for Warner Bros. and Sony artists, as well.
As to what this means for Spotify users, the answer is simple: If you want the hottest new music before it’s had a chance to cool down for a couple of weeks, you’ll have to sign up and pay up. That, or learn to be a little bit more patient… and maybe start listening to old school radio again, just to be on the safe side.