×

Ministry of Sound Strikes Exclusive Playlist Deal With Apple Music — Shutting Out Spotify

The dance-music giant's playlists will be removed from non-Apple Music services this week, a source says.

Apple Music and the Ministry of Sound label have struck an exclusive playlist deal that will effectively shut out Spotify, a rep for Apple confirmed to Variety. News of the deal, which was first reported by Music Business Worldwide, will see exclusive Ministry of Sound-branded playlists being posted on Apple Music beginning Thursday (Oct. 4).

The label currently has multiple popular playlists on Spotify, including “Dance Nation,” “R&B Mixtape” and “Ibiza Anthems,” which have hundreds of thousands of followers. A source tells Variety that those playlists will be removed from Spotify and other non-Apple streaming services in the coming days.

Ministry of Sound is wholly owned by Sony Music Entertainment, which acquired the company in 2016 for a reported 67 million Euros.

Reps for Ministry of Sound and Spotify did not immediately comment on the move when contacted by Variety. 

While not unprecedented — Apple Music has an exclusive deal with Universal for its Peaceful Music playlist, for example — the deal represents a next frontier in the streaming and playlisting wars between Apple Music and Spotify, the world’s two largest streaming services. While Apple and fellow streamer Tidal initially tried to gain ground on global market leader Spotify by offering exclusive audio or video content from individual artists including Beyonce, Drake and Frank Ocean, that tactic has largely cooled off, particularly after Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge banned the company from such exclusives shortly after the release of Ocean’s “Blonde” album in August of 2016. While sources say the album was not the sole cause of Grainge’s decision, “Blonde” was released — initially via an Apple Music exclusive — just days after Ocean had fulfilled his contractual obligations to Universal with the subpar “Endless” album.

The move is also striking in that Spotify promotes its own playlists far more than those from third parties, whereas the Ministry of Sound deal indicates that Apple Music may be less proprietary.

Ministry of Sound Recordings was launched in 1993 as an extension of the popular South London nightclub (pictured above in 2005) founded by James Palumbo. While more of a niche imprint in the U.S., it is among the world’s largest dance-music recording companies, particularly in the U.K., with cumulative global album sales in excess of 70 million, including multiple U.K. No. 1 albums and singles.

Yet the company’s most popular and influential releases have been its compilations — and the streaming version of those compilations is its playlists.

More Digital

  • Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA Signs Gaming Influencers Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA has signed two popular live-streaming battle royale gamers — Nicholas Amyoony, better known as Nick Eh 30, and David Steinberg, aka StoneMountain64 — for representation. CAA said it will work to create opportunities for Nick Eh 30 (above left) and StoneMountain64 (above right) in all areas, including TV, motion pictures, touring, digital distribution and [...]

  • Amazon Adds NBA League Pass to

    Amazon Adds NBA League Pass Live-Streaming Games to Prime Video Channels

    Amazon is bringing pro hoops action to Prime Video Channels: The ecommerce giant now offers NBA League Pass as part of its lineup of 150-plus subscription options for Prime members in the U.S. It’s the first U.S. live-sports subscription service on Prime Video Channels. Prime members can subscribe to NBA League Pass via Prime Video [...]

  • Fifty Shades of Grey

    International Piracy Ring Stole Over 25,000 Movie and TV Digital Files, U.S. Feds Say

    A five-member international hacking crime ring stole more than 25,000 files for Hollywood movies and TV shows and illegally offered hundreds of them for sale online, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. A federal grand jury in L.A. on Wednesday (Dec. 12) indicted five men, identified as residing in the U.K., India, Dubai and Malaysia, [...]

  • Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president

    Apple to Update iPhones in China to Avoid Sales Ban

    Apple is pushing out a software update to iPhones in China to address a recent court order obtained by Qualcomm that banned the sale of certain iPhone models in the country. The update will allow the company to continue selling its phones in China, company representatives told Reuters Friday morning. The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court [...]

  • Kevin Reilly Variety Cover

    Kevin Reilly Named Content Chief for WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Kevin Reilly — a veteran television exec who has led programming at NBC, FX, Fox, and most recently Turner Broadcasting — has been tapped to head content strategy for the still-nascent streaming service that WarnerMedia plans to launch next year. Reilly, who has led programming at Turner brands TNT and TBS since 2015, will serve [...]

  • Apple Culver City

    Apple Expects to Have Over 1,000 Employees in Culver City by 2022

    Apple announced plans to boost its L.A. presence, saying it expects to have more than 1,000 employees in Culver City, Calif., over the next three years, including its growing entertainment team. The move is part of the tech giant’s broader initiative to create 20,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2023 and includes a new $1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content