Recently it seems as though more and more artists are deciding to remove their preexisting albums from Spotify. Today, Coldplay released their latest album Head Full of Dreams and The Wall Street Journal was the first to claim that it won’t be immediately available on Spotify. Coldplay reportedly cites the service’s free listening tier as the reason they have chosen to withhold the album, as reported on Verge. The album has been highly anticipated for the past year and some sources suggested that Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin has hinted this may be the band’s final album. The decision not to immediately release the album on Spotify mirrors that of another highly anticipated, extremely successful release; Adele’s 25.
25 was released on Nov. 20, 2015, and was Adele’s first album release in four years. The album sold 3.38 million copies in it’s debut week and broke the record for most albums sold in a debut week ever, as reported by Billboard. It is no surprise that the high album sales contrasted a lack of content from the album being accessed from Spotify. Similarly, Taylor Swift released her most recent album 1989 on Oct. 27, 2014 and did not give Spotify the rights to any of her songs. 1989 sold 1.287 million in it’s first week, which was also reported by Billboard, and previously held the record Adele’s 25 broke this November.
After examining the past successes of albums that were withheld from Spotify, it will be interesting to follow Coldplay’s album sales and general reception following Head Full of Dreams. While the decision to keep albums and even entire discographies off of Spotify has been controversial to fans who primarily access their music through the streaming service, there is evidence in both Adele’s and Taylor Swift’s record sales to show that it does not significantly impact their fanbase’s dedication to hearing new releases. In an op-ed piece written by Taylor Swift, and featured in the Wall Street Journal regarding her 2014 decision to remove her discography from Spotify, Swift speaks out about streaming services overall negative effects on the music industry as a whole. On Spotify, artists earn on average less than one cent per play of each song, between $0.006 and $0.0084, according to Spotify Artists, a website that explains the service to artists.
With Coldplay headlining this year’s Super Bowl halftime show, industry eyes will certainly be on the reception of Head Full of Dreams. Although the band has kept the album off of Spotify for now, it seems as though this decision will not affect their overall popularity if it follows in the footsteps of previous popular artists who have made the same bold decision.
Photo credited by Wikimedia.