As expected, Spotify has inked a deal with Universal Music Group, giving artists the option to launch new albums exclusively for paying customers for two weeks, before becoming accessible to free users.

"Starting today, Universal artists can choose to release new albums on Premium for two weeks, offering subscribers an earlier chance to explore the complete creative work, while the singles are available across Spotify for all our listeners," said Spotify CEO Daniel Eck.

Unfortunately, the exact terms of the agreement remain unknown. However, it's likely that Spotify will benefit by paying less to Universal in royalty fees each time a song from a new album is streamed during the two-week period.

Sony and Warner will probably follow suit

With Universal on board, it wouldn't be surprising to see Sony and Warner sign similar contracts in the not-too-distant future, which will probably come as bad news to Spotify customers without an active Premium subscription.