Joining Coldplay, Paul McCartney and a few others, Adele – most likely with the encouragement of her record label, is boycotting Spotify, pulling her new album 21 from the service. This move is becoming more popular by artists looking to maximize sales of their new or newly award winning albums. There’s a growing opinion that giving listeners access to their new music on a service like Spotify, where listeners can select the song they want to hear whenever and as often as they would like, will hurt album sales, either digital or physical.
Apparently, Adele’s management was willing to license 21 to Spotify for premium, subscription paying listeners only, but this option was declined by Spotify. It’s not hard to understand why they declined it, as it could easily have a snowball effect on other artists.
There is a concerted effort by a growing list of popular artists to control the access that listeners have to their new music. Most of the recent moves have concentrated on limiting the kind of free, on-demand access that Spotify offers, although recently Paul McCartney reportedly blanked all streaming of his newly released album.
Note: Although there are multiple reports that Adele’s 21 is not available on Spotify, I do have access this morning to a “sampler” version of 21 in my Spotify library. I’m not sure if this is a new development, or a function of the fact that I have had it in my library for a while..
2011 is turning out to be a good year for the record industry, which is seeing growth year over year sales for the first time since 2004. Digital album sales are leading the way in terms of growth – they’re up 19% over 2010. Digital track sales are up 11%. Overall music sales are up 8.5% to $821 million.
In early July Eminem‘s Recovery became the first digital album to sell more than a million units, with Adele‘s 21 not far behind. Earlier in the year the Black Eyed Peas made themselves the first to sell more than 7 million digital song downloads of I Gotta Feeling.