Adele Boycotting Spotify and Apple Music On Her New Release

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Updated, 2 pm PT Thurs.: Spotify has now confirmed the news; Apple’s pre-order page strongly suggests that Apple Music streaming will not be allowed.

This could be one of the biggest albums ever, in the history of the recording industry.

But it won’t be available on Spotify, Apple Music, or other streaming music platforms.

The streaming boycott was strongly hinted by sources to Digital Music News back in October, but mega-papers like the New York Times are now making it official.  “With less than 24 hours before the album’s release on Friday [November 20th], the major digital services have been told that ’25’ will not be made available for streaming, according to three people with direct knowledge of the plans for the release,” the Times reported.

By midday (Thursday), Spotify confirmed the news.  Apple has yet to officially comment (as of 2 pm PT Thursday), though the iTunes pre-order page strongly suggests that Apple Music streaming is not part of the plan.  Currently, fans are restricted to album-only downloads, a bundling privilege rarely allowed by Apple.

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There are more than a few tricky issues ahead, starting with YouTube.  At present, the status around YouTube (and YouTube Red) remains unclear, despite being the largest streaming music platform in the world.  Just recently, Adele’s “Hello” passed the 400 million-mark on YouTube, one of the most successful videos ever.  That raises very complicated questions of whether Adele will alienate tens of millions of fans who exclusively listen to music on YouTube (for free).

And don’t underestimate the power of YouTube in this situation.  Even Taylor Swift has kept her music on YouTube, despite a high-profile boycott of Spotify.  That drew accusations of hypocrisy, for obvious reasons: YouTube is widely recognized for paying the crappiest royalty rate of all streaming platforms, in huge contrast to players like Apple (Spotify lands somewhere in the middle).

Meanwhile, projections are calling for a massive first week for 25, and potentially a record-setting one.  Back in the early days of 2000, at the peak of the CD-based recording industry, *NSync shifted more than 2.4 million units of No Strings Attached, considered an unbreakable record of the bygone past.  Now, Adele has the possibility of breaking that unreachable mark.

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On the physical side, Adele is already outperforming.  Apple reportedly declined to carry the CD, though Target secured the exclusive (and some exclusive tracks).  The Target-specific tracklisting follows; the album officially hits Friday, November 20th.

1. Hello
2. Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
3. I Miss You
4. When We Were Young
5. Remedy
6. Water Under The Bridge
7. River Lea
8. Love In The Dark
9. Million Years Ago
10. All I Ask
11. Sweetest Devotion
12. Can’t Let Go (Target Exclusive)
13. Lay Me Down (Target Exclusive)
14. Why Do You Love Me (Target Exclusive)


More as this develops.


28 Responses

      • FarePlay

        Unfortunately, this points out how badly Apple Music screwed the pooch. Instead of building a streaming service focused on transitioning paying listeners to customers, they did the opposite.

        The Adele record should have been an early watershed opportunity for Apple Music where they had exclusive streaming tracks and a specially priced download with thirty-day free trial of Apple Music. Then marketed to that audience with special offers and custom playlists . An incredibly valuable audience of predominantly purchasers, a high percentage who would have ended up paying for the service and purchasing from iTunes.

        Hard to understand that any music guy with the time in the business that Iovine has would not press for that. Which leads me to believe that Iovine is primarily window dressing showing up on the CBS Morning Show with Beyonce to talk about the music business.

        Yes, there is still a music purchasing audience and Adele is their kind of artist.

    • There is something...

      Plenty of artists have music on itunes and not on Apple Music… So why not her ?

      • Paul Resnikoff

        Looks like it’s going to be an album-only download on iTunes. Guessing the party simply ends there, with no Apple Music streaming possibility. It’s just on the download side it looks like.

        • Anonymous

          “no Apple Music streaming possibility”

          It’s such a sad day for all women — how are they going to find her songs now?

  1. DavidB

    Why call it boycotting? Her last album was windowed for about a year, so why not this one? Did it work out so badly the last time?

    The only interesting questions are:

    – will the windowing period be shorter this time

    – and will it go on paid subscription services (i.e. Apple Music) before Spotify?

    • Anonymous

      “Did it work out so badly the last time?”

      🙂 No, it proved what we already knew from the movie industry:

      Windowing is the way to go!

  2. roland

    Its not hatred towards Apple, its a stand against streaming in general.

    itunes platform works ok for musicians. 99 cents a song is not a lot to ask for.

  3. Mateja

    That’s great, at least I won’t have avoid this overrated crap on Spotify.

  4. Erving A-Zoff

    “This could be one of the biggest albums ever, in the history of the recording industry”

    Hahahahahahahaha, try telling that to Don Henley and Company. Nice try though

  5. Adam

    Prediction – the album will sell less than her previous one. But will open strong.

    • Adam

      Oh – and for anyone interested the album is already all over torrent sites. Ugh.

        • Anonymous

          let’s be concise with the term, nothing will stop theft or the virus that is called “piracy” but think of streaming services like a flu shot… it minimizes the spread of the virus… that’s if you believe in the flu shot and the concept behind it … kinda like streaming eh….LOL

  6. Lob Befsetz

    How the hell can we solve the world’s problems if the music business itself can’t do what’s right for the populace?

    Sixteen years after Napster, after living through P2P, track sales and now streaming, blind greed continues to reign in the music business. People do what’s right for themselves, never mind what’s good for the customer, never mind what’s good for the business.


    You’re not that fucking good. You’re not the Beatles. We can live without your music. We just focus on you because everybody else is so bad, everybody else is whored out to the corporation and bitching they can’t make the money people do in the tech sphere. Even Bono’s off the rails, forcing an LP upon those who don’t care and then going on the road and not even going clean in arenas. That’s right, after selling out stadia, U2 can’t sell every ticket indoors. Because the music just ain’t that good. And it’s all driven by the music. And we’ll find out what the people think, a year from now, when we see if they’re still listening, on streaming services, which is where “25” will be after this dash for cash is done.

    Hell, we’re not even going to have this fourth quarter madness a year from now. Because physical will be dead and track sales de minimis. I’d say this is the last gasp of a dying industry but the truth is music will survive, as it has the past sixteen years, because people love to play it and the public loves to hear it.

    Who needs this money? Adele, you played small venues last time around, you didn’t take all the money from the corporations. Why this turnaround? Are you that ignorant? Even car companies are hipper than you, they’re leaving CD drives out of their vehicles. My new computer has no disk drive, even though I bought it a year ago and it’s state of the art. But forget my iMac 5k, did you ever try to play a CD on a tablet? Never mind a mobile?

    We live in a mobile world where few have a ton of storage, but I’ve got to make room for your album?

    Screw you.

    Oh, the truth is I already have your record! It’s been flying around the internet. And I didn’t listen to the whole damn thing because it didn’t immediately grab me and I was more interested in hearing Amy Schumer on Alec Baldwin’s podcast. That’s the world we live in, where you compete with all entertainment, which is accessible at the touch of an icon. There’s plenty of money if you get mindshare. But you want to give up mindshare?

    But you’re dumb and uneducated, living in the bubble. Give Taylor Swift some credit, at least she thinks for herself, however wrong she might sometimes be. And the truth is Apple was about to cave, Swift had almost nothing to do with getting acts paid during the trial period. But an ignorant press that says “Billboard” sold out their Jones Beach gig when they gave away thousands of tickets doesn’t know the inside story. And therefore people have no idea that acts scalp their own tickets and Ticketmaster is a front for performers’ greed.

    That’s right, in an era of transparency, in the music business there is none. You want to be paid better by the labels? Why should they come to the table and be fair, they’re greedy just like you! When the biggest act in the business sees the world through her own eyes only, why do you expect anybody else to act differently?

    Tom Petty agitates for a lower vinyl price. That’s right, he didn’t want MCA to use his new album, which people were salivating for, to rip off customers. And now Adele leaves the customer behind.

    Oh, what a long strange trip it’s been. One in which the Beatles enraptured a generation, got everybody to pick up a guitar, where music changed the world, into an era where tech changes the world.

    Because the techies are educated and smart and are all about disruption and the future.

    Your album comes out tomorrow. You waited to this late date to reveal this info? Why? You knew forever. But you employ duplicity, smoke and mirrors, manipulation as opposed to forthright honesty. How can we believe in your music if we don’t believe in you?

    Adele, you could have done good here. You could have driven listeners to streaming services, you could have bumped up subscriptions. Instead, you’re just muddying the water. Keeping people in the past. Where the media is, which will say how much product you sold as opposed to how much people accessed.

    If you think sales are where it’s at, you don’t know Major Lazer and DJ Snake’s “Lean On” is the most played track in Spotify history, with 526 million streams in eight months. Not only is there money in that, there’s cultural impact. “Lean On” gets little press, but actual listeners know it’s genius and can’t get enough. Whereas you’re appealing to doofuses who don’t listen, just blindly buy because the oldsters tell them to.

    Listens, not purchases.

    Impact, not cash.

    Careers, not short-term thinking.

    Do the right thing, don’t selfishly stand up for yourself only.

    How can we move forward, how can the music business be healthy if the leaders don’t agitate for the right thing?

    Damned if I know.

    • FarePlay

      This is reminiscent of the personal attacks reigned on artists who spoke out against piracy.

      Really disturbing diatribe, that makes one question the guys mental state.

  7. Versus

    Good. Even if she does not “need” the money, as argued in the other post, by doing this she takes a stand not only for herself but for all other artists. A small artist pulling music from exploitation, I mean “streaming”, services, will have little effect. But major artists doing so can actually have some influence. (And many small artists acting together can also have an influence…)

    • Anonymous

      Taking a stand against who exactly? By making it purchasable as album-only, it seems the only thing she is standing up to is her fans.

    • Anonymous

      “she takes a stand not only for herself but for all other artists”


  8. Anon

    I wouldn’t get too heated about this, there wasn’t any smart strategy around streaming with her previous releases. It might have seemed that way subsequently but her management

  9. Anonymous

    Adele herself probably doesn’t really care. It’s no doubt a label & management decision.

  10. Abby

    that’s fine. That’s what torrents are for. I don’t need spotify lol.

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