We mentioned a rumor that Spotify would restrict albums to Premium-tier customers weeks ago, and it seems that Spotify has chosen a happy medium between making albums permanently exclusive and available to all.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told The Verge that artists can choose to opt into the exclusivity.
We know that not every album by every artist should be released the same way, and we’ve worked hard with UMG to develop a new, flexible release policy. Starting today, Universal artists can choose to release new albums on premium only for two weeks, offering subscribers an earlier chance to explore the complete creative work…
In case you didn’t know, UMG controls pretty much all the artists. Musicians from Nicki Minaj to members of One Direction fall under the UMG umbrella or its sub-divisions. That’s a lot of albums potentially exclusive to Premium, assuming the artists cooperate.
This doesn’t apply to singles, which will be available to all Spotify users. The report also doesn’t specify whether albums will be available from other sources, such as physical release, at the same time as Premium or general Spotify.
Update 05-04: A previous version of this post stated that boyband One Direction falls under the UMG umbrella, which is untrue. We have updated the post to reflect this. Also, we added the nuance that ‘some’ new albums will be restricted, as not all albums will have the exclusive Premium period.