World-famous record label Warner Music has announced today plans to stop providing content for free music streaming services such as Spotify and Last.fm. Speaking to BBC News, Warner chief executive Edgar Bronfman Jr said that "free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry and as far as Warner Music is concerned will not be licensed."
Instead, Warner has expressed interest in a subscription-based model. Similar to Spotify's premium service, the model would allow consumers to pay a monthly fee in order to get access to the streaming catalogue. Claiming that there are more potential subscribers than people buying music on iTunes, Bronfman believes that subscriptions could be taken up by "hundreds of millions, if not billions of people."
Spotify has rejected claims that Warner Music may stop providing content for its free music streaming service. According to a post on Spotify's official twitter account Warner Music is not pulling out of Spotify and the company claims it's the media "taking things out of context".
Disapproval of services like Spotify is nothing new in the industry, with both artists and executives expressing concerns that the amount-per-play is not high enough, and Calvin Harris calling Spotify a "piss-take". But only last month Universal's Rob Wells stated that "Spotify is a very sustainable financial model - full stop." With so many new models and methods still being trialled by corporate executives, it may be a while before the dust finally settles and we are left with an overall satisfactory solution to digital music.
Updated: Title edited to reflect Spotify denial.