Currently Spotify artists must offer all their music as a bundle to paying subscribers. This may change as the company is reportedly testing out a way for artists to withhold songs from everyone.
This reported move comes from a source of The Wall Street Journal. It follows the news last year that Taylor Swift pulled her entire music catalogue from Spotify because the company wouldn't bend on this all-or-nothing principle.
According to the WSJ, Spotify has been in private talks with music executives where it's considering allowing artists to release albums to its 20 million paying subscribers only. The albums would then be withheld from those 80 million who use the free service.
According to the source, Spotify will begin by trialling this new method. It hasn't been clear on which artists will be able to withhold music from the free service. It also isn't ready to announce a clear policy change, yet.
Spotify, until now, has maintained that its free service, paid for by ads, supports its subscription service. Music labels have sided with the service in the face of free options like YouTube, where music videos is the most popular category. But these labels have always sought more freedom and it appears Spotify may grant it.
Following Taylor Swift's withdrawal from Spotify, Adele recently released her album on Apple's iTunes and sold more than 4.5 million copies in the first two weeks. Spotify doesn't want to lose more major artists.
Spotify agreed to consign Coldplay's recent album to the paid service only for several weeks after its 4 December release, according to the source. This ultimately didn't happen as the two apparently agreed it would be better released to both paid and free service users.
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