Music Streaming Exclusivity

Music Streaming: Exclusivity Could Be Hurting Fans

Drake, Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, Future, Kanye West, are just some of the major artists we love that have released exclusive music to their fans. Nothing captures our attention more than when we hear the word “exclusive.” When our favorite artists release a statement about this new music, it becomes a craze. Whether it be a new album, new song, or new feature, we’re all thinking, “this is going to be amazing.”

We get to hear something fresh, especially if it’s been a while since something was last released. We see our excitement shoot right through the roof, and the countdown starts. Yet, once we finally find out where we’ll be able to hear it, a lot changes. Some music is released as an “AppleMusic exclusive” or “Tidal exclusive” and then you think- wait… what? Your heart stops for a second. The only thing running through your mind is: “I don’t have AppleMusic or Tidal.”

If you’re a huge music fan like I am, then this situation sounds very familiar to you. When this happens, our hearts sink- no new music for us. Unable to enjoy this release, a large chunk of fans are being left out. The single platform limits a great deal of what an artist has to offer.

Streaming has transformed the way we listen to music, as well as how we share it. We now see artists on major labels sign deals that have streaming services make fans pay for a membership, which isn’t fair.

As college students, we try to find the smartest and best deals. We ask ourselves what service is worth it for the price we’re paying for. There is AppleMusic, at ten dollars a month, Tidal, at ten dollars all the way to twenty dollars a month, and Spotify, which begins free for users, then a membership starts at ten dollars. Luckily for students it’s cut in half to five dollars a month with the student discount.

Personally, I use Spotify for realistic reasons: there is a huge catalog of music to pick from, spotlight on new and fresh music, playlists tailored by the music you listen too, and the cost is only five dollars. Obviously, it’s not convenient to pay for one service just to listen to Drake’s new album on AppleMusic the day it comes out, then Beyoncé’s album on Tidal the next. It’s unfair to have to wait for other streaming services to pick up these exclusives while everyone else is enjoying them on repeat. They become available in a short amount of time, which to me, with whatever patience I have, can wait.

For example, When Drake’s Views was released, I was highly disappointed not to see it on Spotify. Shortly after that rage, there was a statement saying that in a matter of about two weeks I’ll be able to listen to it on my main streaming service. However, when Drake’s new album, More Life, dropped last week, it felt amazing seeing the album on my home page in a shorter amount of time.

This made me wonder if Drake has slowly started pulling away from this “exclusive” phase? Many exclusive albums have certainly created chaos in the music world, as well as confusion to us fans. In all honesty, we all pay this endless amount of money for these subscriptions, but do artists really seem to care about their fans when a large part of their fan base is missing? Or is it always going to be about the money?

PHOTO TAKEN by Lauren Niesz