Rumor has it Spotify has been sold – or a sale is in process – for a reported $14 billion, but the lucky purchaser won’t be named until next Wednesday.
Digital Music News says the Wall Street Journal is preparing a front page spread for the announcement, but will only make the article available for those with a subscription, hiding the information behind a paywall.
“The paid-only symbolism is part of a massive shift in philosophy by both Spotify, the major labels, and its soon-to-be-named mega-buyer,” Digital Music News says. Pointing to “cantankerous negotiations” between Spotify and major record labels, which have put serious pressure on the streaming service to eliminate the free streaming tier and instead offer only various paid levels of use. “Spotify initially resisted those moves, but is now softening its stance as part of an artist-friendly three-way deal involving YouTube and its various music properties.”
The bottom line, Digital Music News suggests, is the reported and anticipated Spotify purchase “will make listening to free music far more difficult for casual music fans, and millions of Spotify and YouTube listeners will be shocked to find free streaming music completely shut off, effective next Wednesday.”
This could be just the first domino to fall, as Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek is already calling on Pandora to follow in its footsteps and charge all users for its services, in a bid to make “streaming fair for every musician and rights owner,” according to a quote reportedly approved for the Wall Street Journal’s article to run next week.
There’s also rumor of a big chunk of the money from the sale going to a musicians’ fund, with contributions coming from Ek and Sean Parker, a Spotify board member and creator of Napster, not to mention the instigator of a deal between Facebook and Spotify that allows users to share playlists on the social media network.
As of March 25, there’s no mention of a possible sale on Spotify’s website, and the free subscription service is still available.