Spotify's global head of creator services, Troy Carter, has come out swinging against streaming exclusives, calling them "bad for artists, bad for consumers, and bad for the whole industry."
In a new interview with Billboard, the Spotify executive explained his reasoning, noting that most users subscribe to one streaming service, which motivates fans to seek out exclusives from services they don't subscribe to through pirate sites or YouTube, where it generates less revenue. "I was brought onboard to strengthen the bridge between Spotify and the music community." According to the numbers, Spotify is adding subscribers faster than ever with 39 million paid subscribers, a huge increase from their 30 million reported this past March, compared to Apple Music's recently reported 15 million subscribers.
This isn't the first time that higher ups at Spotify have spoken out against the nature of exclusives. In February, the company's global head of communications and public policy slammed Tidal in the wake of Lemonade's release, saying long-term exclusives aren't good for anyone. "Artists want as many fans as possible to hear their music, and fans want to hear the music they’re excited about—exclusives get in the way of both," he told Mashable.
Tidal and Apple Music both launched their services after Spotify and have leaned on exclusives to draw consumers away from their competitors. This year alone, Tidal has rolled out albums from Rihanna, Kanye West, and Beyoncé while Apple Music boasted releases from Drake, Chance the Rapper, and Frank Ocean. Unfortunately, this this has made it impossible for consumers to stream every high-profile new release without paying for multiple subscriptions.
However, Frank Ocean's new album Endless was reportedly the last time Universal Music Group will do a streaming exclusive. UMG CEO Lucian Grainge reportedly sent out an email Monday ordering all of the company’s record labels, including Def Jam and Republic Records, to stop making exclusive distribution deals with services like TIDAL, Spotify, and Apple Music, which was allegedly influenced by Frank Ocean’s partnership with Apple.
Earlier this summer, West actually took to social media to try to end the Apple Music and Tidal beef because it's "fucking up the music game." "We all gon be dead in 100 years. Let the kids have the music." West and Carter's points of view might not be that far apart. You can read Carter's entire interview here.