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Spotify Giving Less Promotion to Apple, Tidal Exclusives

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Ben Sisario, writing for The New York Times, details a new policy from Spotify where they give less promotion to albums on their service if they’ve been exclusives on other platforms first:

    Executives at two major record labels said that in recent weeks Spotify, which has resisted exclusives, had told them that it had instituted a policy that music that had benefited from such deals on other services would not receive the same level of promotion once it arrived on Spotify; such music may not be as prominently featured or included in as many playlists, said these executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private negotiations. Spotify declined to comment.

    It seems to be getting harder for Spotify to justify any claims that they’re artist friendly. Artists that are doing exclusives with other platforms are doing so because of the massive promotion, and in some cases monetary advantages, of locking in these deals. They’re doing what’s best for them in a world where rates-per-stream are awful (and Spotify wants them to drop even more) and this windowing strategy1 allows them to maximize their income for a small moment in time, and then push the album out broadly everywhere else and gain exposure as they tour. If the reports are true, Spotify’s trying to make that secondary broad push just a little more difficult, and therefore make the windowing strategy less attractive. I’m not a fan.

    1. Sorry for the paywall article, but it really is the best one on this topic.

  2. teebs41

    Prestigious Prestigious

    Spotify is losing money though arn't they? This is why I think Apple will have the edge bc music streaming is just a small part of a very large company they can afford to pay the artist more bc they are banking that Apple music will lead to more revenues with their brand or product and arn't relying on using the streaming platform alone to make money.
    beachdude42 likes this.
  3. skogsraet

    Trusted Supporter

    I think Apple already has the edge.
    beachdude42 likes this.
  4. ChairMaster04


    I honestly don't blame Spotify. They're playing the game. If I'm in their shoes, why would I give an artist a second round of promotion for an album that's already been out for weeks? Especially if they made an exclusive deal with a rival service. Makes sense to me.
    FakeGyllenhaal and marceting like this.
  5. Because if you're a company that can't turn a profit and have a broken business model, you may want to be in the artist's good graces so they stop pulling off your service, going elsewhere with their music, and all around hating you? And you want to put the best, most popular, music into your playlists so that your customers get a good experience as well and are getting to hear the music they want to hear — therefore staying with your service and giving you money for it so you can stay in business. That's why I'd do it at least.
    Contender and beachdude42 like this.
  6. ChairMaster04


    But by giving Apple-exclusive bands a second round of promo, you're just encouraging more artists to give them exclusives. It's a great deal for bands. Get a bunch of money upfront from Apple, get a ton of publicity from Apple Music, then give it to Spotify a few weeks later and get even more exposure. If Spotify lets that stand, they're screwed. Not saying it's right, just saying it's understandable.

    And btw, does anyone remember how much artists hated Apple back when they had a monopoly on digital music with iTunes? They pull just as much shady shit as Spotify does. They're just doing less now because they have some strong competition.
  7. Jason Tate Aug 26, 2016
    (Last edited: Aug 26, 2016)
    You may be encouraging artists to give them exclusives (I think the money is the encouragement), but you're also fucking over your customers. Demoting bands in search results is a bad experience for people that are using your service. Not giving the music they want to the people using your service, in my opinion, is definitely worse. Spotify could pay for exclusives, or they could give the artists what they want: a way to only release the music on the paid version of the service that actually gives them a somewhat decent rate per stream. Spotify is making the decision to be artist, and user, hostile. I believe they're screwed with that approach far more than they would be if their argument is: we're a better service, sure, you may have to wait one week or so to get the music, but we're a better service, so therefore, you should use us and it's worth the wait (if they won't change their dumb policy) for the music you want.

    If your option really is: give the people paying for this service a worse experience, hide the music they want, make it more difficult to find and play, AND piss off the artists making the music the service exists on ... you're pretty much fucked.

    Labels hated Apple because they lost control over distribution. I don't remember many artists ever "hating" on Apple for iTunes. Or "shady shit."
  8. doubledribble


    Customer service should be one of the most important provisions of any company. If you can't make your customers happy, then you won't get repeat business. No one is going to pay for a music streaming service that has a shortage on listening options. Exclusives are bound to happen in this type of business. Most of them are a week long and then the album gets uploaded everywhere. Spotify isn't bleeding money by not having an album for a week. They are bleeding money because they alienate artists which in turn alienates customers.

    For example, if I were the biggest Taylor Swift fan in the whole wide world, would I have Spotify? No. I'd use Apple Music. There is no excuse for Spotify not having every major recording artist on its service when they are explaining what the problem is to you. If you aren't innovative enough to fix the problem, then you sure as hell better not piss off more artists by making them second rate on your platform.
    FTank and heymattrick like this.
  9. Ben Lee

    I drink coffee and dad my kids Supporter

    Apple would really have to fuck up to make me ever go back to something like Spotify. I did the whole android w/ Spotify thing and it was just the worst. I can't imagine ever doing that again.

    Having Apple Music is just so much more convenient. My UI is all around better.
  10. aranea

    Trusted Prestigious

    I've been using Spotify on Android for over a week now and I've had no issues so far
  11. mercury

    modern-day offspring fanatic Supporter

    Ugh. Last year when I was job hunting I went through a lot of interviews with Spotify and really, really wanted to work there. They ended up passing me up for someone who took a lower salary offer, and I was so crushed because working in tech + music was kind of my dream - I'm so glad I'm not there now, though.

    At the time, Apple Music had just made its debut and I asked one of their engineers if they thought it was strong competition. He laughed and said "No, none of us are really worried about it."

    I totally agree with this. On the flip side, I also have a lot of qualms about the future implications of Apple providing me with every single service I use (and hardware, too!), which is why until now I've been a big Spotify user. This sort of thing is making me reconsider.
  12. Haha, trust me, I do too. I'm a big fan of diversification and having lots of fall back options. But, I do like the music service, so I've been ok using that. I feel pretty good about really just Photos and Music being in their ecosystem from a services standpoint.
    mercury likes this.
  13. ChairMaster04


    I also wish Spotify would get rid of its policy regarding paid-version-exclusivity. That just seems to make sense for all parties.

    In regards to iTunes, check out this article from 2010 on AllThingsD. Apple sent warning messages to the major labels telling them not to participate in Amazon MP3's Daily Deal, and then "backed up those warnings by withdrawing marketing support for certain releases featured as Daily Deals." Sure, it was targeted at the majors, but it's the artists who were hurt in the end. Apple ain't a saint.
  14. kelly


  15. Jason Tate Aug 26, 2016
    (Last edited: Aug 26, 2016)
    Artists were the ones hurt by their labels putting them in the daily deals ... Amazon was paying them basically nothing for each download IIRC. That was the biggest issue with Amazon's early entry into the music game, they tried to undercut everyone on price, but that meant the royalty rate was so low that they couldn't keep the music licenses for new releases.

    It's why all their DD stuff now are albums that have been out a while.
  16. ChairMaster04


    My understanding is that artists received the same amount they would get from a normal sale and Amazon took a loss in order to draw more people to their store and away from iTunes.
  17. From Amazon:
    Amazon Music sets customer prices independently (the retail price). Even though you may choose which pricing tier you'd like for your album (the wholesale price), the corresponding customer price is set by Amazon MP3 and can change at any time. When you choose to have your release delivered to Amazon Music for digital distribution, you are provided charts that reflect the pay rate for each wholesale pricing tier. On occasion, per Amazon’s policies, Amazon Music will enter into promotions, with your consent, to help drive sales and raise the profile of the music in the Amazon store, which could affect your payout. But again, please remember that generally when your songs or albums sell, you will be paid at the rate that you selected.
  18. rst


    I've used both Apple and Spotify. I like Spotify so much more than Apple.
    inspectorkemp likes this.
  19. ChairMaster04


    I stand corrected. Regardless, the point is that Apple is willing to do the exact same thing Spotify is doing now if it thinks it will help it defeat its competitors. The sad truth is that music is merely "content" to all of these companies, and they will use it to strengthen themselves or weaken opposing companies with no regard for the artist. In the end, that's why I'm neither shocked nor outraged by Spotify's move. This is how the business works.
    slickdtc likes this.
  20. Jonathan

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Verified

    Spotify is garbage. Don't get me wrong, Apple Music's UI could use a thorough reimagining, but I remember Spotify would make me create playlists if I wanted to add an album to my collection – that's what drove me back to Rdio.
    Drew Beringer likes this.
  21. I wouldn't call it the exact same thing. Spotify is, reportedly, downgrading search results, removing artists from playlists, and doing things beyond just not promoting an album on their home screen. I don't think simply not promoting the album would bug me, but the algorithmic changes that literally punish the songs themselves for existing vs an editorial decision about where they are promoted is what bothers me. It's a key distinction.
  22. DeviantRogue

    Take arms, it'll all blow over Prestigious

    That hasn't been the case for a long time.
    inspectorkemp and Fucking Dustin like this.
  23. Spotify is a garbage platform too and now they just look like salty buttholes
    FTank and Contender like this.
  24. Eric


    I've been using Spotify for over a year and they've never made me do that. I just save full albums to my collection
  25. aranea

    Trusted Prestigious

    They fixed that a LONG time ago.