Music Industry

How Dr. Dre and Prince Could End Up Costing You More Money

How many streaming services should one subscribe to? Aren’t they all the same? Don’t they have all have access to the same 35 million or so songs? Well, yes–but there’s a wrinkle that’s getting deeper by the week.

Rdio, Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Deezer and the rest of them all need a way to stand out. Sure, there’s their UIs, pricing plans, audio quality, curated playlists and other offerings, all of which try to appeal to the greatest number of potential users. But the thing that could really complicate things for us is the use of exclusives.

Take the case of Dr. Dre. His first album in 16 years, The Pharmacy, had its exclusive premier on Apple Music. Not surprising, since he was a partner in Beats before Apple bought the company. This means if you’re a hardcore fan, you’ll have to go to Apple Music to get your fix for the first while. Fortunately, the Apple Music trial is free so you won’t be out any money.

But then there’s Prince. He just signed an exclusive deal with Jay Z’s Tidal after pulling all this music from the other streaming music services. That means if you want to stream any Prince, you’ll have to pay for Tidal in addition to whatever other streaming service you’d like to use.

Yeah. Uh-oh. Is this the start of a situation where we’ll have to sign up to multiple streaming services to get all the music we want?  VVN takes a look.

Once upon a time, there was HBO who would show almost every movie that was released about a year after its release. Then came Showtime, who ushered in the era of exclusive deals with studios, meaning consumers had to buy more than one premium service if they wanted to see every film.

Today, we have HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, The Movie Channel and more, each holding exclusive deals for specific films or studios. Seeing everything has become a very expensive proposition.

That could very easily become the streaming revolution for music. While services like Spotify and Rdio previously had the libraries of all major labels and most independents as part of their available offerings, we are quickly seeing signs of the fracturing of the market with exclusives going to specific service.

Feeling manipulated yet? Just wait. If this works you can bet that all the other services will crawl over each other to provide exclusive content. Continue reading here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37434 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “How Dr. Dre and Prince Could End Up Costing You More Money

  • I think is rather buy the albums at this point. Sounds cheaper to me.

  • Hooray, another reason not to bother with streaming services! I mean, not having access to a Dre album every decade or two isn’t exactly a huge worry, but it does seem like differentiation right now is leaning in the direction of “Want to watch sports? Sign up with Rogers! Like news? You’ll need to be a Cogeco subscriber!”

    No thanks.


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