Spotify Now Lets Indie Labels Put Albums Behind Two-Week Paywall
The agreement with Merlin just leaves Spotify with two long-term recorded music licensing deals left to negotiate: one with Sony Music Entertainment, and the other with Warner Music Group.
While it's certainly good that Spotify isn't struggling to keep its list of 30 million tracks available to listeners, the announcement notes labels under Merlin "can also participate in Spotify's recently announced flexible release policy".
Today, Spotify announced a new multi-year licensing deal with Merlin, the "global music rights agency" at the helm of independent music.
Merlin's members include record labels like Beggars Group, Merge Records, Sub Pop and Domino Records, which are home to bands such as Radiohead, Dirty Projectors, Father John Misty and She & Him. As part of the deal, Spotify says it is also providing "improved marketing and advertising opportunities", as well as access to "enhanced data".
This means existing Spotify investors and employees with stock options would have their shares registered, enabling them to be traded freely, while the company would not be able to raise extra money or work with underwriters to place new shares.
Spotify said the deal continued a nine-year partnership with Merlin, which is its fourth largest partner.
Your favorite indie bands on Spotify could soon be going behind the streaming service's temporary paywall.
In a joint statement, the two companies claimed the deal would "advance their partnership to ensure that streaming realises its full transformational potential for artists, labels and fans by delivering a comprehensive range of music experiences".
Warner Music Group and Sony Music have yet to comment on whether or not they will be entering into similar windowing agreements with Spotify.
The move to limited exclusives was inevitable, as reports previously hinted Spotify had trouble keeping its library equally accessible to both paid and free listeners, following increasing pressure from major music labels.
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