As of April 4th, 2017, paid subscribers of Spotify will begin to receive select albums from the record label Universal Music Group two weeks in advance before their global release. A large variety of major artists are signed under this label, so chances are you could receive your favorite artist’s album a whole 14 days in advance before it reaches other music streaming services – another reason to subscribe to Spotify!
According to the HipHop-n-More article, “Spotify Premium Users Will Have Access to Some Albums Two Weeks Early,” Spotify Chairman and CEO Daniel Ek has ensured that this deal will allow Spotify to continue to provide “great music and fair compensation for artists and creators.” Spotify has dealt with much backlash in past from artists, such as Taylor Swift, for not fairly paying their creators. So this partnership between Universal Music Group and Spotify could be an attempt to strengthen the relationship between music streaming services and artists.
However, the external stakeholder group primarily benefiting from this deal is consumers. Although Spotify has no control over the actual quality of an artist’s music, they have the ability to improve the way in which we consume the music. Therefore, Spotify is focused on improving its service quality.
In regards to the five primary rights of consumers, Spotify is focused on expanding the consumer’s right to choose. Since the company’s products are limited by the artists’ choice to release music, Spotify has found a clever method to beat competitors in expanding their variety of products before other streaming services can, to the benefit of consumers.
As pleasant as a deal this may seem, it raises the ethical question – is Spotify treating its artists as artists, or as products on a shelf? There are no specific details on how Spotify is planning to properly compensate artists with this deal, considering how the artists would be giving up potential revenue from other music streaming services in agreeing to this exclusivity. In addition, how will consumers begin to view the value of music if an album were to be released as a Spotify exclusive? Streaming services have been notorious for significantly devaluing music, so will this deal change things? Only time will tell.