'We've crossed the hurdle': Spotify's George Ergatoudis discusses Universal windowing deal

'We've crossed the hurdle': Spotify's George Ergatoudis discusses Universal windowing deal

Spotify UK’s head of content programming George Ergatoudis has told Music Week the streaming giant’s windowing deal with Universal is “good news for everybody in the business”.

Speaking after Spotify won the Music Retailer/Streaming Platform category at the Music Week Awards 2017, Ergatoudis said: “We’re super excited the deal is done. It feels like a big step, it’s been a long process and it’s taken a while to get here, that’s no secret and you’ve seen stories in the media, but we’ve crossed the hurdle.”

Announced earlier this week, the agreement will enable Universal artists to release new albums on Spotify premium only for two weeks - a long-term goal for many artists and labels. Taylor Swift previously removed her music from Spotify in protest at the streaming service’s free tier, and the story has been rumbling ever since. Last November, Ergatoudis hinted that artists such as Swift could return to Spotify.

Asked what the Universal deal means for the industry (read Music Week’s editorial addressing that very issue here), Ergatoudis said it’s “exciting for everybody, whether it’s artists, creators… everybody in the business”.

He added: “Frankly, I think this is good news. From our point of view, it gives Spotify a degree of certainty about how to move forward, we’ve got very ambitious plans to keep growing and build our base. This sets us on that road.”

Of course, speculation is mounting as to if and when the other major record companies will seal similar agreements. Sony have so far declined Music Week’s requests for comment – although sources did confirm a deal has not yet been done – and Warner are yet to respond.

Ergatoudis’ comments as to when such companies will follow Universal’s lead will only serve to stoke the fire. It appears it will be when, rather than if. “Watch this space,” he said. “Wait and see what happens next.”

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