Spotify has announced today that a new licensing agreement has been signed with Universal Music Group, and as part of the deal, new albums released on Spotify by artists belonging to the record labels will be made available to paid Premium users 2 weeks before they are offered to free users.
Spotify users are separated into two categories: Premium and free. The Premium users fork out $9.99 per month, or any other Premium package that suits them, free users don’t have to pay a fee, but the perks are obviously restricted. Playback includes ads, there is no option to skip songs, limited number of skips, and of course, you wont’t be able to listen to your playlists offline.
For quite some time, Spotify has worked hard to make sure that new music is made available to both Premium and free users at the same time, in order to simplify for its users. But after signing the new deal, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek admitted that that policy couldn’t work forever, and “not every album by every artist should be released the same way”.
But all’s not been taken away from free users after this deal, because as Ek made clear, the singles will still be accessible at the same time for both Premium and free users; it’ll be the album music that could be restricted to Premium-only for up to two weeks at the artist’s discretion.
The Verge reports that in the aftermath of the Spotify-UMG deal, the Swedish music streaming company should be able to wrap-up similar agreements with two other major labels, Sony Music and Warner Music Group. Therefore, the changes to album release periods will not be limited to only UMG artists, but across the board. It is reported that Spotify is gearing up for its Initial Public Offering (IPO) and these deals should go a long way to ensuring that their finances are managed in a better manner than before.