Universal Music Inks Expanded Spotify Partnership Deal, Covering ‘New Promotional and Social Features,’ Amid TikTok Dispute

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Days after finalizing a bolstered pact with Hybe, Universal Music Group (UMG) has expanded its relationship with Spotify to include social features and more.

UMG and Spotify formally announced their broadened tie-up this morning, as the major label’s catalog remains conspicuously absent from TikTok. Soon after that much-publicized licensing dispute entered the media spotlight, Universal Music execs made clear their plans to lean into joint initiatives with different partners in and beyond the short-form arena.

Spotify, which in 2023 spearheaded far-reaching royalty-calculation changes at the reported behest of UMG, is evidently one such partner. Bearing in mind UMG’s TikTok pullout and the app’s uncertain stateside future, Spotify is developing “a series of new promotional and social features.”

First up in this category are “teasers” designed to drive interest in and pre-saves of forthcoming UMG projects. Meanwhile, a fresh Universal Music Publishing Group pact will enable Spotify to make the involved professionals’ music videos available to users in the U.S.

Bigger picture, Spotify and UMG intend “to explore additional features that allow fans to discover artists and propel virality of new releases,” with details about the involved offerings set to emerge “in the near future.”

Of course, TikTok has long touted its perceived ability to “propel virality,” the precise value of which proved a hang-up in UMG licensing-renewal discussions.

Addressing his company’s latest Spotify deal in a statement, UMG head Lucian Grainge emphasized the development’s engagement significance and pointed to the “win-win” terms behind the expanded union.

“We’re excited to broaden our relationship with Spotify through the introduction of new content offerings and collaborations that will bring deeper ‘social music’ experiences to the platform,” Grainge said in part. “We’re always striving to expand opportunities for UMG artists and songwriters to elevate engagement with their fans, especially in the introduction of new music and artist-centric initiatives.”

And in comparatively brief remarks of his own, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek communicated: “UMG has consistently been a progressive partner on behalf of their artists and songwriters, contributing to our product development efforts of experimental tools and adopting them early to help artists stand out.

“The forthcoming features will put more power in the hands of artists and their teams to help them authentically express themselves, efficiently promote their work, and better monetize their art,” concluded the Stockholm native.

Earlier in March, Spotify disclosed a number of listenership stats (including an updated per-stream royalty rate) in its Loud & Clear report. Furthermore, UMG artists are also poised to join Hybe’s Weverse superfan app under the initially highlighted deal, and Warner Music Group has opted to build a different platform yet for diehard supporters.