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Certain albums on Spotify will only be available to paid subscribers

It’s a game-changer.

 

Anastassia Gliadkovskaya

Streaming

In a new licensing deal with Universal Music Group, Spotify will now give artists the option of restricting new albums to only paid subscribers of the music streaming service for the first two weeks of their release.

This type of option, called “windowing,” has been a hot debate in the music industry since 2014, when singer Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify altogether.

“We know that not every album by every artist should be released the same way, and we’ve worked hard with UMG to develop a new, flexible release policy,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said in a statement.

Other major streaming apps including Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music don’t even offer a free on-demand streaming tier—their membership requires pay, unlike Spotify.

SoundCloud, a popular online streaming service, launched its paid subscription service SoundCloud Go in 2016, and users were not happy. Indie artist Dave Wiskus expressed his frustration in an open letter to the company, writing that not only do artists have to pay $15 a month for a Pro account to be able to upload music, they now have to also pay an additional $5 a month for a Go account.

Recently major labels have been pushing for paid subscriptions. According to the the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), in 2016, paid subscriptions generated significantly more revenue, at $2.5 billion, compared with only $469 million in revenue from free on-demand streaming services, including the free version of Spotify.

For Spotify’s enormous base of free users, the good times may be coming to an end.

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The Daily Dot