Spotify wanted Radiohead album only to be available to premium subscribers

Spotify are looking to change its streaming policy for big releases

Spotify has revealed it was in talks with Radiohead to make their new album ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ the first release to only be available to paying Spotifty Premium subscribers.

Since Spotify launched in 2008, it has insisted that all of its music is available to subscribers who opt for its free service featuring adverts, and those who pay a monthly subscription for the Premium Service featuring ad-free streaming.

But, with Apple Music and Tidal positioning themselves as more artist-friendly services with no free option, Spotify has recently seen several major releases shared with their rivals. These include ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’, which was available on its release on May 8 on Apple Music and Tidal but which will only be available on Spotify from June 17, when the album is released physically on CD and vinyl.

But it has emerged that Spotify is now willing to change its model to offer some albums as a benefit for its Premium subscribers. Spotify head of policy Jonathan Prince said the service was in talks with Radiohead to make ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ the first album only available on Spotify Premium.

Prince told Music Ally: “We’re always looking for new ways to create a better experience for our free and paying listeners, and to maximise the value of both tiers for artists and their labels. We explored a variety of ways to do that in conjunction with the release of Radiohead’s latest album.”

It appears Spotify was unable to get the technology right to distinguish between free and Premium subscribers in time for the ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ deal to become a reality. Prince said: “We ultimately decided that we couldn’t deliver on those approaches technologically in time for the album’s release schedule.”

But Spotify emphasized that it is willing to consider similar deals in future. Prince said: “We’re going to keep exploring innovative release strategies and related tests in the coming months.”

Taylor Swift withdrew her music from Spotify in 2014, while Adele refused to allow her albums ‘21’ and ‘25’ on Spotify. Adele’s manager Jonathan Dickens said in 2014: “To me, the premium tier subscribers are active record buyers. To get around the situation with Taylor Swift, Spotify could have a window between making something available on the premium service earlier than it’s made available on the free service. But Spotify won’t do it.”

The news comes as Radiohead’s 2007 album ‘In Rainbows’ has been added to Spotify, ensuring that all the band’s back catalogue is available on the service.