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Spotify to Add New Features for Universal Music Artists — Update

By Mauro Orru


Spotify Technology will introduce new features to help Universal Music Group artists promote new releases and better engage with fans, as part of an expanded partnership between the streaming giant and the record label behind the Weeknd, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift.

The two companies said in a joint statement on Thursday that Universal Music artists will be able to share teasers of upcoming music on Spotify to build up excitement within their fan base in the run-up to a release. Spotify will also distribute music videos in the U.S. under a new agreement.

Spotify and Universal didn't specify when the new features would be available, saying they would share more details in the near future as they continue to explore opportunities to make it easier for fans to discover artists and for their songs to go viral.

"The forthcoming features will put more power in the hands of artists and their teams to help them authentically express themselves, efficiently promote their work, and better monetize their art," said Spotify Chief Executive Daniel Ek.

The announcement comes nearly two months after Universal Music pulled its songs from TikTok as the record label and the popular video-sharing app failed to reach a licensing agreement. Universal Music Chief Executive Lucian Grainge has been an advocate for artists and songwriters when it comes to recognition and pay for their work.

In an open letter to the artist and songwriter community, Universal alleged that TikTok had proposed paying artists and songwriters "at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay," with TikTok responding that Universal was putting its own "greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters."

Artists themselves have at times been at loggerheads with digital platforms over payments for their music. In 2014, Taylor Swift's entire music catalog was temporarily yanked from Spotify after the pop star's record label asked the company to make her music available to its paying subscribers only, and not to the users of its free, ad-supported tier. Spotify had declined the request.

One year later, Swift released an open letter to Apple in protest of the tech giant's decision not to pay artists royalties during listeners' three-month trial period on Apple Music. Apple subsequently backed off its plan.

In 2022, music publishers and streaming services reached an agreement to raise the rates songwriters get paid when their music is played on Spotify and other digital platforms.

"We're always striving to expand opportunities for UMG artists and songwriters to elevate engagement with their fans, especially in the introduction of new music and artist-centric initiatives," Grainge said after Universal's expanded partnership with Spotify.


Write to Mauro Orru at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 28, 2024 13:04 ET (17:04 GMT)

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