Spotify Blasts Exclusives as “Bad for Artists, Bad for Fans”

Spotify Against Beyonce 'Lemonade' Tidal Exclusive
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Spotify says exclusives are harmful to the industry.

Beyonce’s new album Lemonade is currently only available to stream on Tidal — and it’s going to be a Tidal exclusive for the foreseeable future, according to sources.  After the news surfaced of the Lemonade exclusive, Spotify spoke out strongly against the move an interview with Mashable.

Jonathan Prince, global head of communication and public policy for Spotify, said this:

“We believe long-term exclusives are bad for artists and they’re bad for fans… Artists want as many fans as possible to hear their music, and fans want to hear the music they’re excited about – exclusives get in the way of both.”

Details have yet to be confirmed by Beyonce or Tidal, but the likelihood of ‘Lemonade’ remaining a Tidal exclusive seems pretty high.

It’s not the first time an artist has decided to make an album exclusive to one streaming platform.  Last year, the legendary pop icon Prince pulled all of his music from every streaming service apart from Tidal.  Then, Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo became a Tidal exclusive for over a month (but was later distributed to other streaming platforms despite West proclaiming that it would ‘never’ be available on any streaming service apart from Tidal.)

Others have dabbled in shorter-term exclusives, or restricted streaming access as part of a timed, ‘windowing’ release strategy.

So, is Beyonce just another move to double Tidal’s subscribers?  And are we going to see a shift in subscribers from Spotify and Apple Music to Tidal?  That may be the case: Beyonce has hundreds of millions of fans who may switch services if they can’t access her music on their current service.

Below are some tweets that Beyonce fan’s have posted…

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(Image by Asterio Tecson, Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic, cc by-sa 2.0)

7 Responses

  1. Jenn

    “exclusives get in the way of both.”

    No, not paying artists gets in the way of both.

  2. stillHopeful

    After all these labels have promoted Spotify with their embed player, when you navigate Spotify, do you get a sense they are promoting the artists and encouraging sales checkout, or just in it for themselves?

  3. Greg

    Spotify was fine with exclusives before Apple and Tidal got in the game (

    Now that the shoe is on the other foot they want to complain?

    I actually agree that streaming exclusives are bad for fans, but we really don’t need a lesson from Spotify on this.

  4. Solution X

    The artist need to be considered a principal alongside the labels , songwriters , content owners and sound recording owners. And the business model need to be a fix flat fee for the entire digital device industry that’s
    capable of any audio or visual presentation. In other words the most obscure artist on the planet minimum wage should be at lest $222,000 .00 per quarter
    accounting for the remedy of being turned into a software program on the internet. The end users get free
    content because they’re entertainment is bundled in the prices they have already paid for inside the capacity
    device or service. . .: LX

    • Lance

      What’chu talkin ’bout Willis?

      1. Music, even in its modern state, is absolutely art at its core. Part of that art is struggling to find an audience who appreciates the work. To me this is much more authentic than what you’ve proposed

      2. In your scenario what qualifies an artist? Couldn’t any Tom, Dick or Jane pick up a guitar and/or start singing, become an artist and be ~$800 000 a year richer?

      3. Where does the money to pay the artists come from? It sounds like you are saying that the money should come from hardware sales. I got news for you, hardware companies aren’t charities and if they were legally required to pay artists, they would only pass the massive cost burden onto the sticker price of their hardware.

      TL:DR – I’ve tried to explain patiently, but damn what are you smoking?

  5. DavidB

    Well, he did say ‘long term’ exclusives. Spotify’s exclusives with Led Zep and Metallica were for 12 months, if I recall correctly. So I presume they won’t object to anything up to this.

  6. Parker

    When Prince died, I didn’t worry about where Sign O The Times was streaming. I ripped it from the CD I bought back in the day and put it on my iPhone.

    I realize that’s not a future-leaning solution, but it’s a great workaround while streaming services F each other (and us) trying to leverage artists’ work.

    If Spotify has a problem, they need to make a better solution. That’s what they told artists, right? So…get on it, Ek.

    Just saying, “Ballad of Dorothy Parker” is coming out of my speakers and that’s kinda the end result I was shooting for.