Drake Punishes Fans Again With an Apple Music Exclusive

Apple Music Takes Another Hit At Spotify With Drake Exclusive
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Drake’s upcoming album, Views From the 6, has been the talk of the town for months now. And while fans are eagerly waiting for the album to drop, they might be disappointed to know that they can only listen to it if they’re subscribed to Apple Music. The album will be released first as an Apple Music exclusive, and then it will be generally available from April 29th.

This is not the first time Drake has shown his support for Apple Music. The Canadian rapper was present at Apple Music’s launch in San Francisco last year and has been a keen advocate of the streaming platform ever since. His hit song Hotline Bling was first released on Apple Music before any other streaming service, and his OVO Sound radio show is also an Apple Music exclusive and currently only available on Apple’s Beats 1 radio station.

The news of Drake’s album dropping as an Apple Music exclusive was confirmed by Apple on Beats 1’s OVO Sound Radio. Drake’s relationship with the streaming platform is evident, and it’s no surprise that he has chosen to release his album exclusively with Apple Music. The financial payouts that come with this deal are also significant, making it a win-win situation for both Drake and Apple Music.

However, this move has left fans of other streaming services disappointed. Exclusive content is becoming a common strategy for most major streaming platforms to increase subscriber numbers. Tidal, for instance, is famous for this and reportedly doubled its subscriber numbers as a result of exclusively streaming Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo.

Apple Music has already grown considerably since its launch last year. In just nine months, it has racked up 11 million paying subscribers. With this new Drake exclusive, Apple Music is widely anticipated to grab another big chunk of paying users. Apple Music is the closest streaming service to Spotify in terms of subscriber numbers.

Spotify, on the other hand, has recorded 30 million paying users, and Apple Music only has roughly 30% of this figure. However, Spotify is indeed moving to widen that gap. In fact, this may be one reason why Spotify has just recently raised a massive $1 billion in debt financing.

Drake is one of the most popular artists in the world, and his album release as an Apple Music exclusive will undoubtedly attract a considerable number of subscribers to the platform. However, this move also highlights the fact that streaming exclusives remain a sucky reality for music fans who get punished for actually paying but can’t get access to the best new content because they’re on the wrong service.

In conclusion, while Drake’s album release as an Apple Music exclusive is exciting news for Apple Music subscribers, it also raises questions about the future of music streaming and the impact of exclusives on the industry. It remains to be seen how other streaming services will respond to this move and whether exclusive content will continue to be a common strategy for gaining subscribers.

(Image by thecomeupshow; licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

16 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    If Spotify has 30m paid subs and Apple Music has 11m, Spotify has far more than 30% more paid subs than Apple.

    “…Although Spotify has a recorded 30 million paying users, which is roughly 30% more than that of Apple Music…”

    It’s 173% more.

  2. Anonymous

    You must take some comments about numbers with a grain of salt ..
    Spotify’s 30 million number is a wishy washy figure… although it’s impressive it doesn’t tell the full story.

    Having exclusives whether it’s with Walmart, K-Mart, Tidal, Spotify or Apple is being done all the time by artists … but some people love to have it in for Apple, probably because Apple is so successful.

    Every iPhone comes with a built in recording studio (DAW) called Garageband.. drum machines, virtual synthesizers, effects, audio (vocal) recording, mix console..
    I don’t see any of the other Android rubbish having such things…

  3. John Simson

    Sopranos Punish Fans Again With HBO Exclusive!

    Why do we beat up musicians for trying to maximize their revenues by offering exclusives when they can?

    We all know that competing television services have exclusive content that we won’t get unless we subscribe.

    Radio will be able to play it as Drake can’t hold it back from them! Pandora and non-interactive services will also be able to stream it because the Government gives them a compulsory license.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      We all know that competing television services have exclusive content that we won’t get unless we subscribe.

      And that’s good? Television is becoming a Balkanized world of apps that make it difficult to marginalize piracy and similarly punishes paying users. Amazon, Netflix, HBO… and those are just the top ones.

      But here’s one huge difference TV has going for it: they actually finance new content, unlike streaming services.

      • Anonymous

        “But here’s one huge difference TV has going for it: they actually finance new content, unlike streaming services.”

        Super important point!

        I still feel it’s a bit different with Apple though because they do provide Logic, Garageband, iTunes and hardware.

        But Spotify, YouTube and Tidal don’t create anything what so ever (yeah, YouTube does produce absolutely worthless comedies, but nothing related to music, movies or art).

    • Me2

      Agree. The “artist punishing fans” narrative is tired, ridiculous, unfair and quite anti competitive when you really think about it.

      “Everything everywhere all the time” is so 2006. A convenient meme for pitching services, but beyond that, it’s a fairy tale that producers in the real world have had to tolerate. Where else do you see this expectation, in any market? Oh right, the internet is special.

      Should read “Spotify Punishes Fans by not Having Drake”

      • Anonymous

        “Agree. The “artist punishing fans” narrative is tired, ridiculous, unfair and quite anti competitive when you really think about it.”

        +1. Sad to see Hassan go for the click bait after such a nice start.

        The last thing we need is new, fake fan-artist conflict.

        • Paul Resnikoff

          The truth is I pushed my opinion into that piece! Hey, I’m not saying anything against Drake, he’s getting a nice check from Apple from what I hear. And the same goes for other artists getting nice paychecks. But that doesn’t mean it’s good for fans, or healthy for the ecosystem.

          • Anonymous

            Paying for two streaming services can roughly the same as buying a CD or two, which was most certainly a form of exclusivity, as well. Obviously there’s the issue of the money getting to the artist, but from a consumer stand point, really not much of a difference price-wise, except that you’re getting about a billion more songs for that $10-20.

            Funny how you want fans to pay more money into the industry until it’s about streaming and then it’s all a punishment because god forbid say something remotely positive about it.

  4. DavidB

    You might equally headline the piece ‘Spotify punishes paying subscribers again’. It is Spotify’s dogmatic insistence on making everything available to free users at the same time as subscribers that is responsible for artists and labels preferring to go elsewhere.

  5. Versus

    This is gratuitously inflammatory. Nobody is being “punished for actually paying”. Listeners have a choice which service or services to which they would like to survive. You get what you pay for.

    Are Netflix users being “punished” for not having Amazon Prime shows? Or vice versa? Are wine bars “punishing” customers by not serving beer?

    • Versus

      “Survive” should have been “subscribe” but take it as a Freudian slip.

    • Paul Resnikoff


      The industry has been trying, since the days of Napster, to get the public to pay for online content. Was ‘iTunes Music’ a success? Partly, but the IFPI estimated that 95 percent of downloads were illegal in the downloading heyday.

      I’d say that was a gross underestimation.

      Fast-forward to 2016, and you have an industry that is trying to get millions of music fans to pay for their content online, and tens of millions are. Some are paying $20 a month, for the highest-end streaming product.

      Limiting their access is not the solution for this business. Because it tells the best consumers that they’re contribution doesn’t buy it all. Whether that’s the Beatles, Drake, or Kanye, yes they are being punished.


      • Troglite


        A couple of quick thoughts on this topic.

        First, I think “exclusive content” and “windowed release schedules” are meaningfully different and the dialogue is in danger of conflating them. Your arguments seem most relevant when applied to truly exclusive content that will never be offered on alternative platforms.

        Second, it appears that a good portion of your perspective is tied to the perceived value of “unlimited access” subscription pricing models. It seems equally plausible that your assertions point to just how illogical and unsustainable that business plan truly is, which has been effectively forced upon this industry by technology companies like Spotify or Apple by taking advantage of temporary distortions in the marketplace created by emerging capabilities (e.g. streaming and/or mobile). Put more directly, I question whether that business plan is sustainable.. and if its not, many of the concerns you raise seem to be diminished.

        Finally, how exactly should the “industry” prevent artists from offering exclusives? Do these controls/limitation raise their own risks? Do you have any concerns that implementing the concepts you have outlined may increase the risk of collusion between the major labels?

  6. Hey

    Bad title..
    Artists have become completely powerless today. One of the few things they can still do is “punish” the bad guys when possible and encourage the good guys. One way to do it is by making your content available first on the platforms that play fair with artists like AppleMusic, Tidal, Bandcamp, and letting platforms like Spotify ( who insist on not letting you restrict your content to the paid tier only) be the last to get the content. That’s not “punishing” your audience, that’s encouraging them to get your content from the good providers and sway them away from the bad ones.