Spotify has been penalizing artists who release exclusive content on Apple Music, Bloomberg reports. According to inside sources, musicians who release new material exclusively on Apple Music have been told that their tracks will not be included on featured playlists, and are finding their songs buried in Spotify search results. The practice of doing this has apparently been ongoing for about a year, but some sources suggest that Spotify’s efforts have escalated over the past few months. Further, the practice doesn’t seem to be restricted to Apple Music; artists who have done exclusive releases on Tidal have also been retaliated against, according to sources.
Update: In regard to Spotify burying search results, a Spotify spokesperson has reached out to us with the statement that “This is unequivocally false.”
While the report notes that Spotify’s actions may not be affecting major artists like Drake and Frank Ocean, the company has specifically threatened to use its retaliatory practices on smaller artists who choose to introduce new music via Apple’s Beats 1 radio service. At least one industry representative indicates that their client has cancelled plans to debut a song on Beats 1 in fear that they might lose promotion from Spotify, although the agent and artist asked to not be identified to avoid damaging their relationships with the streaming companies. Spotify has taken a stand against exclusive deals in the past, saying their harmful to the music business; although the company has also pursued exclusive deals itself, it has had limited success due to its refusal limit releases to only the service’s paid tier.