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Spotify may block free users from listening to its major releases

by Josh Levenson | March 16, 2017March 16, 2017 8:30 am PDT

If you’re a Spotify customer without an active Premium subscription, you may soon be blocked from listing to some of the hottest new music, claims The Financial Times. It’s believed that the firm is nearing a deal with major labels, including Sony, Universal and Warner, that would temporarily make the top releases on the platform only available to paying customers.

The exact terms of the agreement remain unknown. Spotify will reportedly benefit from restricting fresh content to premium-only users by paying less to the labels in royalty fees for each song, though it’s unclear whether this will encourage or deter artists from licensing their latest tracks to the music streaming giant.

In Taylor Swift’s case, however, it would likely be enough for her to re-establish ties with Spotify as back in 2015, she refused to launch her new album on the platform because it would not approve her request to restrict it to premium-only users, instantly sparking a debate over how music should be valued and raising concerns about whether ad-supported streaming services pay artists fairly.

A huge market

Spotify currently has more than 100 million users, with over 50 million of them paying for a Premium subscription. From whatever way you look at it, that’s a huge market. Not everyone will be happy if this deal goes ahead, though. Artists, labels and, of course, Spotify will be laughing, but free users will likely be up in arms.

Josh Levenson

Josh Levenson is an avid technology enthusiast who writes news and the occasional how-to. He's also a self-proclaimed sneakerhead and has been an...