Talk about a sore loser, it looks like Spotify is punishing artists who do exclusives with Apple Music. According to an article in Bloomberg, the service is manipulating search results so that those who provided Apple Music with an exclusive on a new release don’t appear in the top ranks of searches after their music becomes available when the exclusive is over.
Spotify has also warned artists who provide Apple Music with an exclusive that they will no longer be included on its playlists. Spotify playlists have become a very important promotional tool, so any exclusion could hurt a song or album’s popularity on the platform.
A Spotify spokesperson has denied the allegations, which appear from have come from inside the company.
The fact of the matter is that Apple Music is using these exclusives in order to catch up with its rival. Spotify now claims to have 39 million paid subscribers while Apple Music sits at 15 million, so the company is using the artist exclusives to help close the gap. Whether that’s actually working or not is yet to be seen, since we’ve not seen subscriber numbers from Apple for a while, at least before the exclusive wars got into full swing.
Of course, it’s easier for Apple to get artists to provide an exclusive on a new release because of the company’s deep pockets for an advance, and widespread television and social advertising and promotion, something that Spotify or most other streaming companies can’t easily match.
Will it be worth it? Many in the industry actually feel that exclusives hurt everyone involved since the consumer isn’t able to get the music when she wants it on the platform she wants to use while the album is hot. My guess is that we’ll see exclusives die down in 2017 after Apple reaches subscriber parity with Spotify, or something close to it. Until then, Spotify will probably continue punishing artists who bow to Apple’s advances.