The music streaming wars are heating up, and some of the biggest streaming services are focusing on strategies to gain new subscribers and distinguish themselves from their competitors. Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal are all focusing on aspects of their services such as exclusives, features and pricing in an attempt to outdo each other and appeal to music fans.
Recently, one of the most common strategies used by both Tidal and Apple Music has been the exclusive. When high-profile artists commit to only offer their latest work on one streaming service for another, fans often follow, adding to the streamer's subscriber base for what the music service hopes is a long term relationship that lasts long beyond the window of exclusivity for a specific artist's work.
Tidal, Jay Z's fledgling upstart, got a huge boost in its modest subscriber base after a string of exclusive high-profile releases were offered on its service, including Rihanna's Anti, Kanye West's The Life of Pablo and Beyonce's Lemonade. Kanye West famously vowed that his album would remain a Tidal exclusive in perpetuity and would never show up on Apple Music, only to eat his words weeks later when the disc showed up on the competing service.
Apple Music has also nailed down a couple of brag-worthy exclusives of its own recently, including two current chart toppers, Drake's Views and Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book, which the artist has declared will remain streaming-only and not receive release either physically or as a digital download.
Spotify is also getting in on the action now that it has hired Lady Gaga's former manager Troy Carter as Global Head of Creator Services to develop relationships with artists and reportedly set the stage for the introduction of Spotify exclusives. The company is also planning to add new features to its service, including what it promises is an improvement to its recently-disabled Musixmatch lyric feature. Apple Music, meanwhile, is reportedly planning to completely redesign its user interface after a tepid response to the current layout and formatting.
With Apple Music nipping at its heels, Spotify also altered its pricing recently in a nod to Apple's formerly more appealing family plan, which allows up to six family members access to its service for a $14.99 monthly fee. Spotify's family plan previously cost around double that amount, but the streamer has now set its price in line with Apple's in order to remove the competitive advantage of what is now its biggest challenger in the on-demand streaming wars.