The Streaming Exclusive Is Back, Baby — But Is That Good for Business?

The Streaming Exclusive Is Back, Baby — But Is That Good for Business?

Streaming music services are storming back with a different flavor of exclusive.  But is this still damaging to the business?

Last year, a surge in album release exclusives on rival platforms raised some serious concerns within the industry.  And chief among those concerns was the impact on the paying customer.

After all, if someone is paying for Apple Music, but still can’t get a Post Malone exclusive on Spotify, what’s the f—ing point?

The broader impact on the industry’s fragile recovery was judged to be damaging.  Which explains why UMG chief Lucian Grainge stepped in, effectively forbidding restrictive album exclusives.

We didn’t get this from the horse’s mouth.  But what we understood is that Lucian Grainge was expressly forbidding album exclusives.  And given UMG’s extreme importance to streaming platforms like Spotify, the album exclusive pretty much disappeared, overnight.

And outside of the odd exclusive on Tidal, it really hasn’t returned.  But another type of exclusive has.

Last week, we reported on an Amazon Music exclusive involving Awolnation, specifically for a remix of ‘Handyman’.  That’s the latest exclusive from a series called ‘Amazon Originals’.

Just this morning, Apple Music announced yet another exclusive, this time for an Ed Sheeran documentary.  That’s the latest in a string of Apple documentaries featuring megawatt artists, including Pink, the Chainsmokers, and Sam Smith.

Just recently, Ed Sheeran topped Pollstar’s list of most profitable global tours in 2018, by a landslide.  Which makes this documentary, called Songwriter, a huge deal for millions of fans.