Spotify says it isn’t true. But multiple executives and reports accuse the company of actively sabotaging and punishing artists signing Apple Music exclusives.
Spotify is flatly denying reports that it is actively sabotaging against artists securing Apple Music exclusives, including plans to downgrade two just-released Frank Ocean albums. A media representative for Spotify was damage controlling Friday afternoon, calling the accusations ‘unequivocally false,’ despite serious accusations from both Bloomberg, the New York Times, and multiple major label sources.
The Times dropped the bombshell after digging into the Frank Ocean situation, one that is actively causing the music industry to reinvestigate their practices around exclusives. “Executives at two major record labels said that in recent weeks Spotify, which has resisted exclusives, had told them that it had instituted a policy that music that had benefited from such deals on other services would not receive the same level of promotion once it arrived on Spotify,” Sisario wrote. “Such music may not be as prominently featured or included in as many playlists, said these executives…”
Bloomberg piled on, calling out Spotify’s ‘retaliation’ against any artist inking an Apple Music exclusive. Spotify has eschewed exclusives, calling the practice bad for the industry, though Apple has been pouring cash to secure one plum artist after another. “Artists who have given Apple exclusive access to new music have been told they won’t be able to get their tracks on featured playlists once the songs become available on Spotify,” Bloomberg claimed.
“Those artists have also found their songs buried in the search rankings of Spotify.”
But this goes deeper than high-flying superstars like Frank Ocean, Beyonce, and Drake. According to Bloomberg sources, developing artists are also facing punishments for simply debuting music on Beats 1, the radio component to Apple Music. “The company has threatened to use its retaliatory practices on lesser-known artists who introduce music on a Beats One show hosted by DJ Zane Lowe, an architect of Apple’s radio service,” the report continued.
Both publications are also reporting that Universal Music Group chieftain Lucian Grainge is calling for an end to streaming exclusives, a move that closely follows a disastrous effort involving Frank Ocean. But that wouldn’t prevent artists from striking independent deals with Apple Music, and that’s exactly what Frank Ocean shrewdly negotiated just last week.
More as this develops.