Spotify Responds: These Aren’t iTunes ‘Exclusives,’ They Are ‘Promotions’…

Daft Punk’s latest album was streaming on iTunes a week before it hit Spotify.  Others, like Queens of the Stone Age, were also on iTunes first. So isn’t that an ‘exclusive‘?

Not according to Spotify…

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48 Responses

  1. Felipe

    Also note that the iTunes stream does not allow you to index from track to track. You’re forced to play it as one continuos stream. It is purely promo.

  2. seriously Paul??

    its an album premiere… labels / artists have been doing them for years with various partners… now itunes is in the game as an album premiere. Same as AOL or MSN or even myspace has done for the past 6+ years

    if you look at the current black sabbath itunes premiere, you can’t skip tracks or do anything with it besides listen on the itunes client…

    • oldtimer

      DMN needs to get over it’s unhealthy obsession with Spotify. Not only is it getting boring, it’s making them look bad and loose credibility.

      Please can you get back to serious reporting and news analysis like you did when I first subscribed all those years ago. Leave the petty sniping, points scoring and squabbles to others.

      • just sayin....

        hey B it’s “lose” not “loose”

  3. DUDE

    Please just quit while you’re behind on this one, you already look like an idiot and being purposefully obtuse about this certainly isnt helping anything

  4. GGG

    He’s right….but it is sort of symantecs…but then only until the on-sale day…so I guess you’re both kind of right in different ways.

  5. Jujunile

    We need more news site like digital music news,they produce accurate information and i personally think they are looking out for the music industry overall i fuljoy reading all the articles they write,i would sey they are the voice for the artiste and most indies label.i personally would love to see my spotify royalty payment stop paying me zero 0 dollar for streaming of our music ,all for 10-20 not because the artiste is not big i see alot of 0 on my royalty statement and that start to lead to not releasing our artiste music there,its like they are giving away our music free,we invest alot in our music to give it away for free while the site its on getting rich $$$$

  6. Perhaps news... but not intere

    I remember back in 1993 a radio station played the entire Coverdale/Page album a day before release… shocking! Think of all the people who illicitly made cassette tapes of it, losing the album 100s of sales!

    I did stream the Daft Punk album on iTunes the day before it was released, and found that the streaming experience on there was very limited in its use and annoying: kind of like listening to a one track DJ mix. Not an experience that made me excited to use Apple radio or anything.

    I then did NOT buy it, and have been continuing to listen to it on Spotify since. If I liked it as much as other albums that I listen to 10s-100s of times on Spotify, they would eventually get the same amount of money from me, but since it is not an album I like THAT much, I’m happy they still get some money every time I listen, and more happy that I gave money to Diplo last time I bought something on iTunes.

    Queens… didn’t listen to it on iTunes (less of a cultural moment overall), am finally going to listen to it on Spotify today.

    Paul, how rabid do you really think fans are? Those who are willing to throw down 12 bucks for iTunes downloads will do it. Those who have Spotify subscriptions and know how to use it to their advantage are happy to wait. MUSIC IS FOREVER, not just a couple days before the release date.

    On this one (not on all issues, just this one), I think the Spotify dude’s point is more or less valid. AND… I’M GLAD TONS OF PEOPLE BOUGHT THE DAFT PUNK album. I was in my favorite Brick and Mortar record store yesterday and asked them about it and they said the Daft Punk CD had been doing crazy good there. MUCH MORE EXCITING than whether or not it did well on iTunes (snore).

    Finally, it seems like the “windowing” stories are becoming er… less time consuming. Meaning, the windowing you now are writing about is like, windowing for ONE DAY, rather than months. So, its still happening, but in my opinion is less hurtful to Spotify than the windowing for months stories. If those were actually hurtful (didn’t stop me from buying my subscription).

    • Visitor

      “If I liked it as much as other albums that I listen to 10s-100s of times on Spotify, they would eventually get the same amount of money from me”

      Only a fanatic streams a song the ‘100s of times’ that equal 1 sold download on iTunes.

      That’s why we see this new trend where artists like Daft Punk and QOTSA choose to release on iTunes instead.

      And that’s why iTunes is doing incredibly well while Spotify loses money and artists by the hour:

      “CHART OF TODAY: Apple’s Surprisingly Steady iTunes Growth”

      • Perhaps news...

        Everyone acts as if there is not room for both. There is room for both.

        As a music fanatic who doesn’t have much money, Spotify provides a great service to me. I can’t buy most of the music I like, so it used to be that I would buy a few USED CDs a month, and maybe a new album on iTunes every couple months. These days… I BUY FEWER USED CDS and THE SAME AMOUNT OF CONTENT ON ITUNES. I’m sure that my type of listener is pretty common… obviously not the average listener. But then, I’m sure you also are not the average listener, because you are commenting on Digital Music News, lol.

        The bottom line is that people will pay for what they feel like paying for and find a way of listening to what they want to, regardless of whether they paid for it. Daft Punk showed that people are still willing to pay for an exciting album who’s release is a cultural event. I on the other hand (with Daft Punk’s label’s legal permission) rather listen to it on a streaming service and not buy it, because my limited funds will got to an album I like MORE and NEEDS my support more than Daft. Daft will get maybe a buck from me over time (at the rate of .5 cents a song, a 13 song album will only need to be listened to >20 times to get there… and I’m listening to their other albums on Spotify too), more than the ZERO MONEY if I just waited for a used CD (which I still might buy someday).

        Also by the way: I’m an artist, and no one buys my music on iTunes. I think I’ve made like 64 cents from someone buying one of my tracks on iTunes. But people DO listen to me on Spotify and I’ve made a few bucks. Would I prefer that they weren’t able to listen to me in hopes they would be FORCED to buy my music? No, because they still wouldn’t buy my music. But at least someone is listening and enjoying.

        And the other problem with your comment is that (again) it wasn’t “INSTEAD” it was a ONE DAY listening window for Queens, and a week long listening window for Daft, before the album was officially released… and streamable on Spotify on the same day.

        If Spotify doesn’t survive, I guess you are right, but until they go under, I’m right. 😉

  7. P

    Paul, you’re wrong. Exclusive is a term used for exlusive content, like bonus tracks that are exclusive to one retailer. Daft Punk was streaming exclusively on iTunes for a pre-order “promotion”. The content was the same, however, at all retailers. Except I think they had exclusive content on vinyl, no? I don’t know..

    Also, QOTSA was up on Spotify on Tuesday (new release day). So, what’s your point? If it’s available for iTunes for pre-order it doesn’t mean it’s up on iTunes early, hahahah.

    • Visitor

      “If it’s available for iTunes for pre-order [and streaming] it doesn’t mean it’s up on iTunes early”

      Yes, that is exactly what it means.

      Again, this is how it works today:

      Release day is the day the music is released.

  8. Visitor

    Oh shit, just wait until Paul realizes how many exclusives NPR First Listen gets

  9. Clear

    You are ALL missing the point.

    The fans DONT CARE where its available – they just want it, so they will go wherever its available FIRST. Ergo; whoever releases it first has an advantage.

    Furthermore no one has mentioned the “elephant in the room” that is iRadio….

    Watch this space. Just sayin…

    • Visitor

      iRadio is not competition to Spotify. It is competition for Pandora. It does not stream albums but individual songs. Get your facts straight.

      • DudNoDude

        Nitwit…songs…schlongs, iRadio (DUH, PLAYLIST UH, YUH!) is definitely competition… No ones going to have time for Spotify and Pandora THEY’RE GOIN’ DOWN TOGETHER! SELL, SELL, SELL!

      • Clear

        Once again – you are missing the point

        THE FANS DONT CARE WHERE IT COMES FROM -Pandora/Spotify/itunes/iRadio/CD/Rdio etc etc

        The cleverest people here are the ones WHO GET IT TO THE FANS FIRST.

        Its why people queue up for iPhone releases – they want to be FIRST.

  10. P

    This is such a dumb argument and is an argument just for the sake of arguing. Again, “Exclusive” is a term within the music industry to signify EXCLUSIVE CONTENT, meaning content that is above and beyond what is being offered at all other retailers. SO, when Justin Timberlake’s album has 2 additional tracks as an EXCLUSIVE at Target, then Target has it EXCLUSIVELY.

    Now, if all retailers had the same track listing, and then if Target were to say, “Hey, come in on Monday and we’ll be providing headphone listening stations where you can listen to the new JT album one day in advance. Also, while you’re here you can preorder it and pick it up tomorrow!” <— that is not an exclusive, that's a pre-order PROMOTION. So yes, iTunes did have the streaming rights for a week in advance, and they were the only business partner that had that offering for Daft Punk. But, that's not saying that it was an iTunes exclusive when you're using an industry defined definition.

    Now, you're trying to say that's unfair for whom? Spotify? Because it makes more financial sense for a record label to SELL copies (digital or physical) instead of offer it for free in advance? Especially for a record that sold over 300k first week… What's the fucking point? Of course they'd rather sell it than offer it to stream right away because that could cannibalize sales. What you don't know is the behind the scenes vendor/retailer agreement. Because of this alleged "Exclusive" I'm sure iTunes had to offer Sony quite a bit of kickbacks in some way, shape, or form. So, it does help iTunes by capturing customers (how many new customers is unknown, I'd bet a majority of them are returning customers as iTunes has had a long time to secure their place in the digital market). I bet a lot of people who don't use AAC and would rather have MP3's listened to it through iTunes but then pre-ordered it through Amazon.

    Personally, I abstained from listening to it because I knew I was going to purchase it at Best Buy because they had a Facebook coupon you could show them and get $2 off. It was the cheapest of all retailers. Hey wait a second, because Best Buy was the only place that had that coupon.. does it mean it was a Best Buy Exclusive?!?!?! Oh shit Paul, better re-type this article..

  11. Me

    Well, yeah, it was obviously a promotional stream meant to drive downloads, but it was still streaming exclusively on iTunes a week before Spotify.

  12. Visitor

    Big deal. Let’s move on. Nothing here folks!

    • Visitor

      “Nothing here folks!”

      You gotta be joking…

  13. Visitor

    I think Graham James is right. Is there a big deal about it being on itunes first? It’s just an exclusive to promote downloads before the actual release, as he says.

    Are they not just streaming it for a day or something and stop doing it once its released?? im confused at why its such a big deal?

    • Visitor

      “New releases come out on Tuesdays in the US”

      Well, that was then and this is now as they say…

      • Kaylee

        Releases still need to come out on Tuesdays to adhere to the schedule for SoundScan reports. Otherwise it just wouldn’t make sense. Unless they didn’t care about tracking their sales….

        • Visitor

          “Releases still need to come out on Tuesdays”

          Oh dear…

  14. Visitor

    “New releases come out on Tuesdays in the US”

    Graham James, Head of US Communications, Spotify


    “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

    Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM


    “Who wants to hear actors talk?”

    H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers


    “The wireless music box [aka radio] has no imaginable commercial value.”

    David Sarnoff


    “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.”

    Western Union

    “We don’t like their [Beatles’] sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”


    • Visitor

      “we can shamelessly charge $20 for an album, containing one, maybe too songs that the customers want to buy”

      — the Music Industry —

      • FarePlay

        Can we retire the phrase “Nobody wants to buy CDs with 1 maybe 2 good songs” there are lots of artists who record entire CDs filled with great songs. You must be listening to entertainers, not artists.

  15. Visitor

    “There are about 600 versions of Adele’s Oscar-winning song “Skyfall” on the Spotify subscription music service. Not one of them features Adele.

    Adele’s label, XL Recordings, keeps her music off of all-you-can-listen subscription plans until download sales peter out. In the meantime, copycat artists fill the void, racking up royalty revenue, often before customers realize they’ve been listening to someone else.”

    • Visitor

      …from the same article:

      A recent search for popular artists on Spotify reveals plenty of me-too bands who pick deceptive artist names like the “Bruno Mars Tributors” or song names like “Firework (As Made Famous By Katy Perry).” The artwork and graphics used for their songs are sometimes a mirror image of the originals.

      The latter is obviously illegal.

      Is this Spotify’s way to punish the holdouts?

        • Visitor

          Huh? Capitalism is not against the law.

          But Spotify is if it allows and profitis from counterfeit material.

      • Me

        This has nothing to do with Spotify. The same stuff happens on iTunes.

        • Visitor

          Read the article, then you’ll understand…

    • Visitor

      “There are about 600 versions of Adele’s Oscar-winning song “Skyfall” on the Spotify subscription music service. Not one of them features Adele.

      Adele’s label, XL Recordings, keeps her music off of all-you-can-listen subscription plans until download sales peter out.”

      I decided a long time ago that I’d never stream my music.

      But never is a long time, and a variation over Adele’s strategy might be interesting:

      Why not release, say, 5-10 year old songs on Spotify?

      Just a thought…

  16. News Reader

    Do artists receive any payment from streaming these albums a week early on iTunes? No.

    Do artists receive payment from streaming that album on Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody? Yes.

    That to me seems like the itunes stream is promotional then… Like a 45-60 minute commercial.

    • Visitor

      “Do artists receive payment from streaming that album on Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody?”

      Not really, that’s why we stay away.

      “Do artists receive any payment from streaming these albums a week early on iTunes?”

      Ever heard of pre-orders?

      1 iTunes pre-order is worth considerably more than 100 Spotify-streams.

      • Visitor

        Incorrect. Streams on iTunes are subject to the same publishing/royalty obligations as any other stream. Not to mention the incremental revenue being generated by increased album preorders as a direct result of doing the stream in the first place. Which is the whole point. Why do you think superstar artists like Timberlake or Sabbath would go along with it if they weren’t getting compensated? If they needed/wanted “promotional streams” as a form of marketing, these artists would go to a or whatever, or stream from their own website for that matter.

        • Visitor

          I think you wanted to respond to News Reader’s message… 🙂

        • Visitor

          There is no direct revenue generated from the promotional streams on iTunes. In fact, iTunes often requires the labels to clear gratis publishing (in select or even all countries/territories) or pay any costs associated with publishing. So while they may indirectly drive pre-orders, they do not generate direct revenue the way a licensed streaming service would on a stream.

          Further, the listening experience on iTunes is not available on mobile phone (just iPad and laptop/desktop), not an ideal experience for consumers. The real driver for resulting pre-orders is the promotional space that iTunes offers to those that give them exclusive streams, as opposed to the streams themselves.

          • Visitor

            “The real driver for resulting pre-orders is the promotional space that iTunes offers to those that give them exclusive streams, as opposed to the streams themselves.”

            You have any evidence to support this statement?

          • Visitor

            In the promotions to which I was privy, only a small percentage of ‘listens’ actually made it more than 1/2 way through the album. In fact most listens are much shorter than that even. However, the positive impact on the sales was felt regardless.