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Spotify passes 39 million users as exclusives debate rumbles on

By | Published on Friday 26 August 2016


So, Spotify now seemingly has 39 million paying subscribers. And whereas boss man Daniel Ek nonchalantly revealed that the 30 million landmark had been passed in a tweet back in March, this time the streaming service’s recent high profile artist relations hire Troy Carter dropped the 39 million figure in a chit chat with Billboard.

Former artist manager Carter was discussing what being Spotify’s Global Head Of Creator Services actually means, saying: “I was brought on board to strengthen the bridge between Spotify and the music community”. Though that doesn’t mean scoring a load of artist exclusives akin to those used by Tidal and Apple Music to encourage new sign ups.

“Exclusives are bad for artists, bad for consumers and bad for the whole industry”, Carter told Billboard. Which is basically the viewpoint that has been held by Spotify for some time, regarding artists locking new albums to one specific streaming service. Though it’s also a viewpoint in vogue this week, of course, following Universal’s internal announcement that streaming service exclusives are officially out of favour at the mega-major.

Carter then echoed what most critics of recent Tidal and Apple exclusives have said, which is that very few people are going to sign up to multiple services, so the album exclusives will just annoy loyal music consumers who are signed up to services denied the latest big release, and possibly send said consumers back to piracy or platforms like YouTube.

Being Global Head Of Creator Services at Spotify, therefore, seemingly involves persuading labels and artist managers that album exclusives are not the future, and instead they should work with Spotify on creating original content and forming marketing partnerships, while also partnering with the streaming platform to sell gig tickets.

Elsewhere, the UK’s Music Managers Forum has also joined this week’s debate on artist exclusives, supporting the Entertainment Retailer’s Association in basically welcoming Universal’s recent proclamation on the so called ‘windowing’ of new releases off certain platforms to the benefit of other platforms.

Says MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick: “It has been reported Universal Music has now taken a stance against exclusive deals with individual streaming services. Whilst it’s always incumbent on managers to make the best decision for their artists, MMF has long held a position against windowing. We believe that preventing fans from listening to their favourite artists can cause confusion, damage confidence in streaming services and increase piracy. Along with ERA, we wish for fans to be able to consume music legally and we hope the rest of the industry will follow suit to grow the market as a whole”.