It’s no secret that Radiohead has had a complicated relationship with Spotify. The most recent happenings between the alternative-rock band and the juggernaut music platform are that Radiohead’s 2007 album In Rainbows is now streaming, and their latest release, A Moon Shaped Pool, will hit Spotify on June 17.
Apparently, frontman Thom Yorke’s stance on streaming has evolved since he likened Spotify to the “last desperate fart of a dying corpse” (is Spotify the corpse or the fart in that metaphor?). Despite Yorke being previously adamant in his refusal to have Radiohead, Atoms for Peace or his solo work available on the streaming platform, all of Radiohead’s catalog can now be found there, save for A Moon Shaped Pool. The absence of In Rainbows until now had to do with the fact that Radiohead self-released the album to fans on digital only, and exclusively on their website. Fans could pay what they wanted to download it.
Spotify actually revealed that it was in talks with the band to have their new album available on its release date, alongside competitors Apple Music and Tidal. Radiohead’s management company, Courtyard, and its label, XL Recordings, were working on a deal with Spotify to have the album be the first on the platform only available to premium subscribers, according to Music Ally. Said Jonathan Prince, head of policy at Spotify:
We’re always looking for new ways to create a better experience for our free and paying listeners, and to maximise the value of both tiers for artists and their labels. We explored a variety of ways to do that in conjunction with the release of Radiohead’s latest album.
However, the company apparently wasn’t able to develop the software needed in time for the album’s May 8 digital release. Prince went on to say that Spotify is going to keep exploring and testing new ways of releasing music to its subscribers.
While Yorke’s distaste for Spotify was highly publicized, he isn’t the only artist with hard feelings. Taylor Swift dramatically removed her music in 2014, and Adele’s 25 can’t be streamed, with the exception of singles “Hello,” “When We Were Young” and “Send My Love (To Your New Lover).”
Spotify has long been marked by its stance on making all of its music available not only to premium users, but also to free users with the stipulation of ads. Its move toward exclusive releases for premium users will certainly be a big step for the company, perhaps even an attempt to open negotiations with streaming-reluctant artists.