×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spotify Signs Universal Music Licensing Agreement That Includes Release Windows

Spotify and the Universal Music Group have struck a new multi-year licensing deal, with the music streaming service for the first time agreeing to window Universal’s music, giving paying users first dibs on new album releases.

“Starting today, Universal artists can choose to release new albums on premium only for two weeks, offering subscribers an earlier chance to explore the complete creative work, while the singles are available across Spotify for all our listeners to enjoy,” explained Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.

The deal paves the way for similar agreements with the other two majors. Spotify had been operating without long-term agreements with all three major labels for close to two years, instead renewing their existing contracts on a month-by-month basis.

Negotiations between the labels and the streaming service were stuck because of Spotify’s large number of free users. The labels want music services to deemphasize ad-supported listening, and instead move as many users as possible to paid tiers. However, Spotify executives have long argued that free listening is a key part of the funnel used to acquire paying customers.

Their case has been bolstered by Spotify’s subscriber growth: Earlier this year, the music streamer announced that it now has more than 50 million paying subscribers. “The long-term success of Spotify, and others like it, is essential to the ecosystem’s enduring health,” acknowledged Universal Music Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge Monday.

Spotify on its part had long resisted demands to make some releases exclusive to paying subscribers. The deal now struck with Universal represents a bit of a compromise. Spotify will still be able to stream the most popular singles to all of its subscribers, while introducing a relatively short release window for albums.

Adding more certainty about licensing fees going forward will also make Spotify more appealing to potential investors. The streaming service is expected to file for a public offering later this or early next year.

More Music

  • Little Mix Star Jesy Nelson Making

    Little Mix's Jesy Nelson Making BBC Documentary About Mental Health and Body Image

    Little Mix star Jesy Nelson is making a one-off documentary for the BBC in which she will explore issues surrounding body shaming and mental health in the age of social media. “Jesy Nelson: My Story” will launch on the BBC’s youth-skewed online channel BBC Three and then play on BBC One. Girl band Little Mix [...]

  • Michael Jackson R Kelly

    'Leaving Neverland,' 'Surviving R. Kelly' Composers on How They Scored Sexual Abuse Docs

    How do you put music to child sexual abuse — especially if the accused predators are musical icons? That’s the challenge composers Chad Hobson and Nathan Matthew David faced as they scored HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” and Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly,” respectively. The documentaries are built around interviews with the alleged victims of Michael Jackson (two [...]

  • Camp Flog Gnaw, Day 1

    Lollapalooza Reveals Some of 2019 Lineup: Lil Wayne, Tame Impala, Janelle Monae

    Tired of learning about a festival’s lineup by scrutinizing a tiny jpeg of a poster with miniscule fonts? Apparently Lollapalooza’s organizers are — they’ve come up with the novel approach of revealing part of the lineup via a video in partnership with the Chicago-based animal shelter PAWS, which mixes in clues about 2019 Lollapalooza performers in [...]

  • Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer,

    Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles Join Strip Club Drama 'Hustlers'

    STXfilms has signed Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles, and Mercedes Ruehl to join strip club drama “Hustlers,” starring Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez. The film will be directed by Lorene Scafaria (“The Meddler”). Mette Towley and Trace Lysette (“Transparent”) are also in negotiations to join the film. The project, originally set up [...]

  • Peloton Sued for $150 Million for

    Peloton Sued for $150 Million for Using Drake, Lady Gaga Music Without License

    A group of publishers including Downtown Music Publishing, Pulse Music Publishing, ole, peermusic, Ultra Music, Big Deal Music, Reservoir, Round Hill, TRO Essex Music Group and The Royalty Network filed a lawsuit against Peloton for infringement of more than a thousand musical works, according to a statement from the National Music Publishers Association. The plaintiffs are [...]

  • Brandi Carlile,Maren Morris. Brandi Carlile and

    ACM Awards Add Brandi Carlile, Kelly Clarkson, Dan + Shay to Performance Lineup

    Brooks & Dunn had a hit once called “Put a Girl In It,” and that’s just what the Academy of Country Music Awards have done, adding Kelly Clarkson, Brandi Carlile and Ashley McBryde to the lineup of performers for the April 7 telecast on CBS. While they’re at it, they also added Brooks & Dunn, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content