Islands in the stream: Spotify plan to delay independent releases for free users

Spotify plan to delay independent releases for free users

They’ve signed a new licensing agreement with Merlin, who represent Sub Pop, ANTI-, Domino and many more.

Remember when Spotify got together with Universal Music Group a few weeks ago and announced some major changes that means new albums could be put behind a paywall? Well, they’re at it again.

In a new press release, the streaming giants have revealed that they’ve put together a new licensing agreement with global digital rights agency Merlin, who represent thousands of the world’s independent record labels including Domino, Warp, XL, ANTI-, Sub Pop, Secretly Group and Kobalt. Much like their deal with Universal, the agreement introduces a “windowing” option with Merlin’s releases.

What does that mean exactly? Well, it could result in new albums from these labels being put back for two weeks to anyone who isn’t paying for Spotify’s premium subscription service. It’s being described as a “flexible release policy” but it’s unclear how many new albums this could potentially affect.

Depending on the outcome, the move might push more people into signing up for Spotify’s premium tier. Kind of contradicts what the platform’s Head of Creator services Troy Carter said last year about not wanting to get to a point where everyone is paying for music…

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