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SPOTIFY'S TOUGH SPOT

Various media reports are asking whether Adele and her team will once again withhold her upcoming album from Spotify because of its longstanding policy of refusing to allow certain releases to be restricted to its paid tier. Such a move would be consistent with the recent pattern of superstar holdouts, including Beyoncé in 2013 and Taylor Swift last year.

The same question applies to Coldplay, whose A Head Full of Dreams drops on 12/4, two weeks after Adele’s 25. Both Ghost Stories and Mylo Xyloto were at retail for months before being made available on Spotify.

When asked by The Verge to comment on the Adele situation, a senior Spotify executive responded, "It is categorically untrue that anyone has asked us to feature Adele’s new album on premium only.”

That doesn’t mean Team Adele won’t use its enormous leverage to put Daniel Ek to the test before 11/20. As our own I.B. Bad put it in his column posted 10/27, would Spotify alter its policy in order to be in the Adele business? On the other hand, they have far bigger priorities than challenging the policy of one streaming service, if they're giving it any thought to the matter to begin with. 

Is Spotify so intractable that it is willing to deny its 80m users, 20m of them paying customers, access to what is shaping up as the biggest album of the decade?  

For that matter, it hasn’t yet been determined whether premium-only Apple Music will get 25 on release, although it’s generally assumed there will be no issue in this case, given manager Jonathan Dickins’ stated support for paid streaming. The same would seem to be true for Google Play.

We’ll be watching this storyline develop with great interest. 

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