Music News Roundup: Vinyl's Biggest Year Since '85, Spotify inks deal with Universal, & More
Vinyl Sales Keep Rising
It's too early to know whether or not vinyl sales will peak in 2017, but things are still looking up for the revival. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, shipments of vinyl albums were up 4% to $430 million, and comprised 26% of total physical shipments at retail
value, which was their highest share since 1985. You'll note that 1982 was the year that the CD was first introduced to the mainstream music market, which went on to significantly reduce vinyl's popularity. The fact that we've already witnessed the rise and fall of the compact disc, only to later watch the resurgence of vinyl, is really something.
Spotify Premium Users Getting Access to Universal Music Albums Two Weeks Before Free Users
Spotify will allow new albums from Universal Music artists (Adele, Lady Gaga, Metallica, Kanye West) to be restricted to its premium tier for two weeks after their release date, according to a new deal by the two companies. That means those listening to Spotify for free won't have the ability to hear those albums on the service during that time window unless they upgrade to premium. There's a whole lot of financial details on the deal if you want to head over to Billboard.
As the New York Times points out, Spotify's free tier actually pays less royalties than its premium service, which was one of the big reasons that Universal artist Taylor Swift yanked her music from the service in 2014. Swift later moved her albums over to Apple Music, so does this mean she now goes back to Spotify?
One other lingering question about this deal is whether or not it includes exclusives, wherein the Universal albums would be available for streaming for two weeks after release only on Spotify Premium. That feels unlikely, but exclusives have been a notable tactic in the streaming wars, especially between Apple and Tidal, working to mixed effect.
If certain exclusives are somehow part of the Universal deal, this potentially means Spotify could be the exclusive streaming home, say, of a new Taylor Swift album for a two-week window after its release date.
And it just so happens Swift is reportedly working on a new album right now, and you can bet if Spotify somehow managed to slickly grab exclusive streaming rights to her new album, whenever that thing drops, even just for two weeks, that's a massive coup for the service.
Given her strong relationship with Apple Music, it seems unlikely Swift would turn down royalties from other streaming services and opt to go exclusively with Spotify Premium for two weeks after the release date of a new album, but stranger things have happened. If not, we're betting you'll see some other Universal artist head down this exclusive route with Spotify sooner than later.
"God Save The Queen" Tops Most Expensive Vinyl
We all have an album or two in our collection we consider to be gems. MrGamez researched the 25 most expensive vinyl records and compiled them into an infographic. Highlights include the UK debut album from The Beatles “Please Please Me” ($8,323), The Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” 7" ($10,578) and the The Beatles’ “Introducing…The Beatles” ($7,573). We can confidently say we own none of them... yet. Check out the full list here.
- Divide - Ed Sheeran
- Back to Black - Amy Winehouse
- Legacy - David Bowie
- Human - Rag 'n' Bone Man
- Abbey Road - The Beatles
- Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
- I See You - The xx
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix 1 - Original Soundtrack
- The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
- Pulp Fiction - Original Soundtrack
Definitely some questionable entries on there (Guardians of the Galaxy?), but the Beatles, Amy Winehouse, Fleetwood Mac, and Pink Floyd seem like mainstays of these lists. Also, who the hell is Rag 'n' Bone Man? Sounds like some sort of bluesy-pop white guy. UPDATE: Confirmed.
Big Week for New Releases
Friday will be a huge day for new albums, including releases from Father John Misty, Future Island, New Pornographers, Arca, Guided By Voices, Diet Cig, and a lot more. Head to Stereogum for full list and highlights. There's also the possibility Kendrick Lamar will surprise-release a new album tomorrow as well, so there's that too.