Premium Means Privilege as Spotify Unveils Its First Ever 'Windowed' Release
    • MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2018

    • Posted by: Elissa Fertig

    After going public last week at a $26.5 billion public offering, Spotify has revealed some of the negotiations it went through to premiere at such a price: it offered its first "windowed" or "gated" release as a compromise to artists who feel Spotify's payment plans are exploitative. Spotify users have to have a premium account to view country music star Jason Aldean's latest LP Rearview Town, or wait two weeks to stream it for free. The same is true on Apple Music, Tidal, and YouTube Red. This kind of delayed album release is the sort of thing that Taylor Swift was hoping to realize when she removed her discography from Spotify several years back, and Aldean has been similarly vocal in this area.

    Jason Aldean actually removed his music from the platform briefly in 2014 after deciding, like Swift, that he was not receiving his fair share from the music streaming giant. "Everyone in the music business is trying to figure out how to make streaming work financially, so that the creative community gets paid fairly," Aldean noted after eventually re-uploading his catalog onto Spotify. "I'm happy to have been part of that dialogue and will continue to be as it all unfolds."

    On one hand, this deal seems to be a positive change for those who are trying balance the scales against Spotify. After all, CEO Daniel Ek created the platform with the intention of never restricting musical access to Spotify users and consumers - that was the whole point. Now, millions of streams of "Blank Space" and multiple licensing agreements later, we can see the straw that broke the camel's back: the company just got too big to sustain a model that doesn't give something back to its artists.

    On the other hand, the scales are still tipped inarguably in the favor of streaming services. The fact that artists had to work so hard just to get a two week-long delay on the streaming of their albums, and that even big, Top-40 country music artists couldn't stick to their guns and boycott the service without risking damage to their accessibility, speaks volumes to the kind of power Spotify continues to hold over the music industry.

    In 2018, it looks like Spotify will make you put your money where your ears are - whether you like country music or not.

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