Spotify has recently denied that it has been punishing artists by burying their music in the search results of its streaming services when they make exclusive agreements with Apple or Tidal first. The clarification arose after a report submitted Friday by Bloomberg, which stated that the big music streaming company was doing so.

Spotify is a Swedish music, podcast and video streaming service launched in 2008. Its music service can be browsed or searched by artist, album, genre, playlist, and even record label. Clearly, Spotify does not enjoy when big-name acts, such as Drake or Kanye West release their music first on Apple or Tidal. But the Swedish company has denied that the artists are being punished because of that.

Spotify Release Radar
Spotify has more than 40 million users worldwide. Image credit: Slashgear.

The accusation is “unequivocally false”

A Spotify representative said that the accusation stated in a Bloomberg report was “unequivocally false”. The report said that Spotify was making music harder to find in the case of artists that have big release agreements with other companies such as Apple.

The refusal makes sense since it wouldn’t be advisable for Spotify if the users can’t easily find the music they want to hear from artists such as Drake, who give the release exclusivity of their singles to Apple Music.

Spotify's release radar
Other big artists to debut music on Apple first include Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. On the other hand, Beyoncé’s latest album, “Lemonade” is offered exclusively on Tidal, but it can be purchased on iTunes. Image credit: Spotify

The controversy started following the release of Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” album, which debuted on Apple Music this weekend. The report claimed the streaming giant is hiding the songs from artists that didn’t give streaming access, saying they wouldn’t have their songs featured in Spotify and that their music would be buried in search rankings.

Signals to avoid exclusivity

Though the whole controversy was denied, obviously Spotify would like to make artists know that they shouldn’t engage into exclusives with Apple or Tidal, in return to some combination of cash, equity, and marketing support.

For example, Frank Ocean’s “Blonde,” -which was released on his own after finishing up a contract with Universal Music Group- is expected to remain exclusive on Apple Music for another week or two.

Frank Ocean Blond
Frank Ocean’s Blond cover. Image credit:

Spotify will have to wait until then to make the album available to its 75 million customers. Obviously, this could influence users to move to Apple to have their favorite music available first.

Additionally, “Blond’s” Apple Music release produced a reaction from Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge who said that he wanted to stop future exclusives.But not even Universal Music Group can make them stop if Apple and Tidal want to keep paying up for them.

Today, it might be easier to record your own music, but promoting it and distributing it, seems to be an arduous work that requires big labels. Superstars enjoy, as well, getting money from Apple or Tidal before their music is released.

Source : CNBC News