Why Is Queens of the Stone Age on iTunes, But Not Spotify?

Updated (6/4, 4:30 pm PCT): Spotify alerted us that the album is now available on Spotify, and says iTunes’ exclusive was just ‘promotional’…

Thank you, Daft Punk?  We may be looking at the brand-new release strategy from major artists, one that features streaming iTunes exclusives and sloppy-seconds for Spotify and ilk.

Which brings us to Queens of the Stone Age.  The group just released their latest album, …Like Clockwork.  The ‘official’ release date is June 3rd 4th in the US.

It’s streaming right now on iTunes…

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And not streaming on Spotify.

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44 Responses

  1. GGG

    Isn’t Apple launching a streaming service in the fairly near future, or has that stalled? If so, maybe they are pushing this so hard (maybe paying, but most likely not) to large acts so people’s first instinct isn’t equating streaming with Spotify but still iTunes or whatever Apple’s service will be called.
    I think we might be missing half the story here, but maybe not. Is it purely artists/labels/mgmt choosing to do this, or is there some incentive being thrown in from Apple, besides homepage space.

    • Chris G

      It is on Spotify in the US as well. I am listening to them on Spotify right now.

  2. Me

    It’s official release date in the U.S. is June 4th, not June 3rd (Major releases usually come out on Tuesdays here). If Spotify wanted exclusive advanced streaming rights, they’d have to make similar agreements w/ the rights holders.

    • Visitor

      “It’s official release date in the U.S. is June 4th”
      Here’s how it works: Release day is the day the music is released.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        Ha, actually both of you are correct. The ‘official release date’ is the date a label and band decide something is presented to the world. In the old business, they both had the control to do this.
        In today’s reality, of course, the internet has its own schedule for ‘presenting’ content. Which raises the question of just how much weight the ‘official release date’ carries anymore.

        • Visitor

          There’s only one release date, and that’s the day the file appears on the web for the first time.

          • Visitor

            Doesn’t matter, you have to have the entire engine up and running from the moment the cat is out.

          • Faza (TCM)

            Does it matter if you’re still half-way through mixing the durn thing? Just asking.

  3. bobafettish

    if you honestly don’t know the answer to this you truly have no business writing for a digital music site.

  4. Visitor

    This is called a “promo stream” and its geared at driving album sales
    Do you like not understand how this is different from something like Spotify or Pandora that is trying to make money directly off of streaming? iTunes isnt even the first person to stream entire albums in advance of their release, NPR has been doing this for ages with First Listen and Pitchfork has started doing it more recently to name two
    As far as I know, Queens of the Stone Age will be on Spotify as of its release tomorrow
    You wanna question whether promo streaming actually drives sales, fine. I’m sure the bands and labels doing this are asking themselves the same questions. But stop posting these stupid taglines, everyone else got that and you’re making yourself look like an idiot

    • Visitor

      “But stop posting these stupid taglines, everyone else got that and you’re making yourself look like an idiot”
      Why’s that?
      You may not like to see Spotify fail again and again, but it’s obviously the trend in 2013.
      Want new music?
      Visit iTunes…

      • New music? Who cares

        I Specifically do NOT want new music. there is simply to much of it. I only want music vetted by friends or music that i already know about. MY soul and intellect are doing just fine on the music i already know and love. This is not a unique position.
        So why is this relevant in this thread?`Because the thread assumes as a fact that it makes any difference to anyone if a “release” is on service a or b the first couple of days.
        That assumption is inncorrect for almost everyone.

    • hippydog

      Quote: ” You wanna question whether promo streaming actually drives sales,”
      I agree, that would have made a more useful tagline.. and would not have come across so much as “Paul hates spotify” 😉
      Quote “I only want music vetted by friends or music that i already know about.”
      a very good point.. I know artists like Pink released low bitrate songs to her fans via her site before they hit any service, releasing teasers on Itunes is no different really.
      As to why, the most obvious reason is because Itunes is trying to leverage its power as the #1 music source, and giving these promo spots away..
      Is it working? Until a few artists (in the same fan base range) try the same thing with a competing service we really won’t know..
      another “why” might be simply that the artists believe in Itunes more then places like spotify .

      • Visitor

        Its #1 on iTunes right now, and up on Spotify day of release… of course its impossible to say if the streaming helped or if that wouldve happened anyways, but at the very least its safe to say it didn’t hurt too much
        Me: 1
        Digital Music Tears: 0

  5. David

    Marginally relevant, I notice that Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’ has recently (in the last few weeks) gone onto streaming services. It was released last October, so that looks like a 6-month ‘windowing’ strategy. I’m not sure if this was ever officially announced.

  6. News Reader

    Daft Punk has back tracked and no longer offers a free stream of their new album on iTunes. Fans must now pay $11.99 to listen to the album on the service.
    See…. I can write misconstrued headlines as well.

  7. Blobmeister

    Hey, slightly OT but why has nobody noticed that there is a major label holdout from the entire Spotify service in some of their most recently launched territories?

      • Visitor

        Could find not the madonna old albums in mexico recently maybe this fixed now.

  8. HansH

    Listening to the album right now. On Spotify.
    This album is better than this article 😉

  9. Digital Music News Spotify Art

    Find song on iTunes, not on Spotify (do minimal searching).
    Blog about it.

  10. Stu

    Will the story ‘Why is [Artist X] on iTunes and not on Spotify?’ be reprinted every time someone does an iTunes pre-release?
    ‘Why are a growing number of artists doing pre-release streams on iTunes?’ is a better question.
    I’m guessing it’s 1.) Because Apple is pushing for more of these deals, 2.) Because iTunes pre-release streams drive iTunes album pre-orders, and 3.) Because few labels want to piss Apple off by taking a pre-release stream elsewhere (fun questions: if a label chose to do that, would Apple still promote the album on the iTunes homepage when it went on sale? Has the company said anything to labels about its thoughts on that score?)
    Here in the UK, the QOTSA album IS on Spotify today, because it’s been released. I’m guessing it’ll be on Spotify in the US as soon as it goes on sale in the US too. I’m not sure this counts as sloppy seconds – certainly not to the extent getting Taylor Swift’s album months after release does.
    But picking out individual pre-release exclusives to prove something bigger and negative about Spotify/streaming seems to be stretching it a bit – Disclosure (v. hot here in the UK) did their pre-release stream on The Guardian, so was that sloppy seconds for iTunes? The xx had their pre-release stream on their own site. Why not on iTunes etc etc?

    • Me

      Inb4 “Why is Black Sabbath on iTunes, But Not Spotify?”

  11. Visitor

    It might be on Spotify tomorrow (release day) but Matador, like 4AD and XL is part of the Beggars Group. 4AD and XL both witheld their big releases (National and Vampire Weekend) from Spotify. Matador could be taking the same approach.

    It also seems that iTunes is choosing one record a week to stream in advance. Not really competing against Spotify in that case, but more other press outlets where advance streams are now the norm: NPR, Pitchfork etc… NY Times even just jumped into it. From a label / artist perspective it makes absolute sense to do an advance stream with iTunes since it’s great exposure and all that much easier for the listener to click ‘purchase’

  12. Digital Person

    Like people have mentioned…it is on Spotify in the UK. Whoever’s handling the distribution of the album in the US probably merked up the release a bit so it hasn’t gone live on Spotify yet.
    Other that that, good story.

  13. embarrassing

    Yeahhhhh…this even has a “What’s New” page feature and everything on Spotify today in the US.
    Excellent reporting!

  14. Jefferson Thomas

    Stop arguing over the release date or I’m turning this car around! Clearly, the crucial issue here is the incorrect grammatical use of “it’s” rather than “its”!

    • Sequenz_

      “it’s” is correct in the sentence. You’re wrong

  15. Jefferson Thomas

    I was referring to the next post, regarding ITS release date!

  16. ledbetter

    It went live around 10am EST in the US.
    I used to be more attuned to the live timelines at each service, but I am currently unaware if Spotify intends to launch albums on release day at 0100 hours.
    Looks like you jumped the gun on this article a bit, haha.

    • Visitor

      It’s also quite possible that Spotify and/or the distributor messed up something prior to launch. Happens all the time.


    Sound the alarm or the fog horn. We’ve got another streaming hold out.
    DJ Hennessy Youngman’s CVS Bangers and CVS Bangers 2 is streaming exclusively on SoundCloud. No iTunes, no Spotify, no iLike, no imeem, no Lala, no Rdio, no Spinner, no Grooveshark, no Seeqpod, no Pandora, no Last.fm, no MySpace, no MP3.com, no Deezer, No Daisy, No Internet Archive.
    This is a bonafied exclusive! Is DJ Hennessy Youngman paving a new path? Maybe this is the new “Radiohead pay what you like” success model we are seeing.
    Paul, please investigate and provide the in-depth hardnose reporting that we expect to see from DMN. The DJ Hennessy Youngman model demands it! And only you have the insight to bring this story to light. It’s time to Resnikoff someone’s ass on this story!
    Thank you

  18. Emma

    It’s been streaming on NZ spotify since at least Saturday…

  19. Visitor

    its a money thing. Itunes drives album sales — spotify is a streaming service. More promising sales come from Itunes.