How Apple Music, Tidal Exclusives Are Reshaping Music Industry
Streaming services have shaped the way artists put out music, but fans are getting the end of the stick. Will this new way of sharing music last? Streaming exclusives on high-profile albums have proven beneficial for major artists, but not as successful for fans and labels.This article originally appeared on Rolling Stone
This year, if you wanted to keep up with new albums by Beyoncé, Drake, Frank Ocean and Kanye West, among many others, you would have had to subscribe to not one but two streaming services. In a strategy that could represent a fundamental shift for the record business, Apple Music and Tidal have sought to pull users from Spotify, the world's biggest streaming service, with a series of competing exclusive releases. As part of the deals, Apple, in particular, funds superstar artists' songs and videos, and showcases them on TV commercials and online radio stations.
But over the past few months, a backlash has developed against this new reality. The tipping point may have come in August, when Frank Ocean delivered a video album,Endless, to fulfill the terms of his contract with Def Jam/Universal, then gave a superior album, Blonde, to Apple as part of an exclusive deal. (Blonde sold 276,000 copies in its first week – only Drake and Beyoncé have had bigger debuts this year.) Lucian Grainge, chief executive of Universal Music, the world's biggest record label, responded by sending an internal memo banning all Universal artists from making exclusive deals. Then, in September, Lady Gaga became the biggest star yet to come out against exclusives. "I told my label that if they signed those contracts with Apple Music and Tidal, I'd leak all my own new music," she said in an interview with Apple's Beats 1 Radio...
...Read the full article by Steve Knopper at Rolling Stone