Some of the larger music labels and musicians are not content with Spotify’s free music streaming option. One of them, Universal, may be pressuring the streaming service to limit and restrict its free tier. Sources close to the label say it has begun pushing for those restrictions during licensing negotiations, but Spotify does have a lot of power in negotiations due to its place in the overall music industry.
Universal has reportedly demanded Spotify restrict the amount of time free listeners can access streaming each month. The primary limitation with the free tier right now is only that users cannot listen for more than a few songs without ads. By only letting users listen for a certain number of hours each month, more people would switch to the premium, paid tier.
As more people switch to paying for Spotify, royalty payments increase for Universal and its musicians, which include Sam Smith and Katy Perry. The payments would also increase for all other labels and artists working with the streaming service.
Universal’s decision to push Spotify towards restricting the free tier comes after Taylor Swift completely took her music off Spotify because, from her perspective, free streaming was hurting her business.