Tag Archives for " exclusives "
Record labels hate giving exclusives to streaming services, but they appear to be working when it comes to signing up new paid subscribers. During Apple’s latest product rollout, CEO Tim Cook mentioned that Apple Music was now at 17 million subscribers thanks to over 70 exclusives with artist like Taylor Swift, Frank Ocean and Drake. The service now appears to be growing at just under a million per month.
While exclusives are great for the streaming networks, the rest of the music industry isn’t so sure of the benefits. For one thing, there’s a belief that they cause confusion in the marketplace. What happens is that a listener can readily find the new release from a hit artist on one streaming site, but then gets frustrated when she can’t find it on another. Many consumers apparently don’t care or pay attention to the “exclusive” factor, it seems.
For an artist, exclusives are a mixed bag. They make get a modest cash advance for the privilege, but the big carrot is the promotion that goes along with it, especially with Apple Music. That means not only online hype but traditional promotion on billboards, print and television as well.
A big problem that’s only just raising its head is retaliation from other streaming services over an exclusive. Katy Perry is said to have been deleted from all Spotify playlists and refused promotion over her exclusive with Apple Music, which caused her latest single to fall completely off the radar.
As a result, major labels are said to be putting a hold on the practice of offering exclusives from now on, choosing to take their chances with traditional label promotion instead.
Exclusives may become a thing of the past, but for about a year, they were the hottest thing in music industry and streaming music.
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.