As paid subscription services like TIDAL and Apple Music continue to promote artist exclusives as a way to acquire new subscribers, Spotify's Global Head of Creator Services Troy Carter once again defended his company's ad-supported model at this year's WSJ.D Live conference, Variety reports.
Arguing that users shouldn't see Spotify's business model as something that ultimately forces subscribers to pay, Carter explains that "[they] may never convert to a paying subscriber" because "they may not be able to afford it." Especially considering the reality of today's economy, Carter doesn't believe that it's realistic to expect paid subscription services to work when there are those who "can't even afford gas for their car."
"We don’t ever get to a world where everybody is paying for music," Carter said during the conference, on stage alongside Spotify’s Chief Strategy and Chief Content Officer Stefan Blom. Blom, too, defended the company's ad-supported business, explaining that the company is monetizing the "free" tier through ads: "This ad-supported model works."
During the WSJ.D Live conference, Spotify reinforced their stance on exclusives, over which the company has always been against.
"We don't believe that it is good for the artist [...] I think you need to meet the fans wherever they are," Blom explained. According to Carter, Spotify's relationship with artists have been improving as they begin to move away from exclusives as well. In an effort to keep up with Apple and TIDAL, Blom also revealed that Spotify is planning on investing more in original content—including original videos and events with artists—over the next year.
TIDAL and Apple Music are known—and sometimes criticized for—the many artist exclusives that they promote. After Frank Ocean had released Blonde exclusivelythrough Apple Music back in August, ex-Apple Music employee Sean Glass explained as to why exclusives can actually provide artists and fans "unprecedented value." Glass's follow-up to his piece also delves into why music "should not be free."