It looks as if Lady Gaga's upcoming fifth studio album Joanne won't be an exclusive release on Apple Music, Tidal or any other streaming service. The singer has publicly stated that she would leak her new music if her record label were to enter a deal with a streamer, limiting its initial exposure to a single streaming platform.
The singer expressed her disdain for such agreements in comments she made in an interview with DJ Zane Lowe on his Beats 1 Radio show, pulling no punches despite the fact that the show is carried exclusively on Apple's Apple Music streaming service. "I told my label that if they signed those contracts with Apple Music and Tidal, I'd leak all my own new music," she explained, as Gaga wants to ensure that all of her fans, known as her little monsters, are afforded equal opportunity to access her new tunes.
Lady Gaga's stance comes as the bitter debate regarding exclusive streaming deals for new music rages on. While Apple's Tim Cook has defiantly pledged to continue pursuing Apple Music exclusives with artists despite pressure from music fans. Spotify has publicly come out against the practice, as its executives have stated that they will not pursue such agreements. Lucien Grainge, chairmen of UMG (Universal Music Group), has also publicly stated recently that he will not continue to pursue streaming exclusives for artists on his labels.
The controversy over exclusives widened this week when it was reported that Spotify apparently buried the addition of Frank Ocean's popular and highly anticipated new album release Blonde to its streaming service following the collection's extended run as an Apple Music exclusive, after Spotify had apparently afforded similar treatment to another recent Apple Music exclusive, Katy Perry's "Rise" single, this summer.
Meanwhile, the first week download numbers for "Perfect Illusion," Lady Gaga's first single from the Joanne collection, due to be released on Oct. 21, were solid if not spectacular, with an estimated 100,000 units sold. That's only about half the first week tally for "Applause," which previewed Gaga's last album Artpop, but in the three years since, the advent of streaming has made direct digital sales comparisons difficult to assess.
"Perfect Illusion" isn't exactly tearing up the streaming charts, however, where it currently remains in the 30s on both Spotify's global and U.S. charts despite massive promotion on the streamer. The song, however, is soon expected to debut in the top 20 of Billboard's Hot 100 chart, which measures a combination of sales, streams and radio airplay.