Spotify Accused of Punishing Artists Who Have Exclusive Releases with Competitors

Spotify Accused of Punishing Artists Who Have Exclusive Releases with Competitors
The world of music streaming has become somewhat of an arms race these past few months, and while Apple Music continues to line up exclusives for some of music's biggest artists, Spotify has been retaliating against those who sign on with its competitor.

UPDATE (08/26, 6:46 p.m.): A spokesperson for Spotify says the reports from Bloomberg are unequivocally false.

Bloomberg reports that the Swedish streaming giant has been making the music of artists who sign exclusive deals with Apple Music harder to find, according to sources close to Spotify's strategy. What's more, artists who have been given Apple exclusives have been told their music won't be featured on Spotify playlists upon release. Artists have also found their music buried within the platform's search rankings.

The sources say the above practices have been in place for around one year, having been ramped up in recent months, likely referring to exclusive releases from Drake, Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean. The same practices have also been used against artists who have given exclusives to Jay Z's Tidal service.

While it's hard to determine whether artists of similar stature to Drake and Ocean have been affected, Bloomberg also reports that smaller artists have been threatened by the retaliatory practices. A representative for a singer-songwriter who was set to premiere a song through Beats 1 Radio with DJ Zane Lowe said the premiere was cancelled over fear of losing promotion from Spotify.

The news comes after rumours surfaced earlier this week that Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge has been looking to ban exclusive distribution deals with streaming services.