Spotify has a new licensing agreement with UMG (Universal Music Group) allowing premium users to hear new album releases two weeks earlier than free users. Spotify has over 100 million registered users, with nearly 50 million active users. They officially launched in 2008, but only within the last few years has gained popularity from mobile usage, social sharing, and a vast library of playlists to browse. Spotify isn’t just music- they have podcasts, audiobooks and downloadable content for premium (paid) users.
With this agreement, artists still have the final say of whether or not their music will be available for early release. Universal Music Group manages hundreds of artists across genres, and will be a part of a new agreement with Spotify to allow artists to be paid under a new agreement. The current agreement with artists and how they get paid isn’t by downloads or by a fixed price- they pay per stream or how many times a song was listened to. Spotify has also shown interest in going public which may change this.