Remember the fight that Spotify and Taylor Swift got into last year, the one that resulted in Swift removing most of her songs from the streaming service? Well, the fight started because of Spotify’s insistence that all songs be available on both its ad-supported free tier, and its subscription-based premium tier, which Swift claims reduces the amount of money that artists make from their music. Unfortunately for Spotify, most of the music industry seems to share Swift’s sentiment, which has resulted in a bunch of popular artists withholding their new albums from the streaming service. This isn’t the kind of thing that Spotify can just ignore, which is why the company appears to be reconsidering the controversial policy, and Coldplay will be the first band to benefit from this.
Spotify is reviewing its policy of not allowing musicians to reserve their albums for paying subscribers only, making the music inaccessible to the music-streaming service’s free users. Since its launch in 2008, the company has maintained a policy of all its music being available to both free and paying users, with the strategy one of the main reasons Spotify fell out so publicly with Taylor Swift in 2014. That policy may be changing, according to the Wall Street Journal, which claims that Spotify is “considering allowing some artists to start releasing albums only to its 20 million-plus subscribers” while withholding them “temporarily” from its free users. The report added that this will be “a test” rather than a permanent change in policy, and claimed that Coldplay were in line to be the first artists to benefit with their new album A Head Full of Dreams, but that the plans were shelved when “the group’s management couldn’t guarantee that it could keep the album off other free sites such as YouTube during the time it was unavailable on Spotify Free”. The album was released on other streaming services – those that do not have free tiers – on 4 December, but will now be available on Spotify a week later on 11 December for all its users. In a statement, Spotify’s global head of communications and public policy, Jonathan Prince, defended the company’s existing approach, but confirmed the discussions with Coldplay’s management team.