HITS Daily Double
Pictured clockwise from top left: Goldschmidt, Wenham, Coldrick, Andrews


The debate over streaming exclusives has reached a fever pitch this week following Frank Ocean’s surprise Blonde, and Lucian Grainge’s subsequent ban. What do those working in the British music industry think about the issue du jour?

It’s a hot potato, so the majors are remaining tight-lipped. However, we’ve gathered a few opinions from the indie industry, managers and the goldmine that is Twitter.

Martin Goldschmidt, Chairman of Cooking Vinyl Group, is firm in his belief that exclusives are bad for the music industry, and risk scuppering getting consumers back onside.

“Hasn't the digital revolution taught us that we have to superserve the consumer?," he told us. "We are coming out of the era that the industry called piracy and the visionaries—Jobs, Ek, Hurley and company—called opportunity.

“Exclusives may give a short-time financial boost to the artist and a blip to the service, but they annoy and confuse the consumer. Long-term, this means losing fan engagement, consumer service churn and setting back the industry from unleashing the full potential and enormous monetary opportunity the new streaming model opens up.

“There is a streaming service war kicking off, and it will ultimately be won on quality of superservice to consumers. Let's take a long-term view and support and try to ensure that the winning endgame is the one that is best for the artist and the music industry.”

Alison Wenham, outgoing Chairman and Chief Exec of the Association of Independent Music, said the indie sector does not support the practice of windowing and exclusives because they offer an opportunity for piracy to scramble back in and take charge.

“If the practice of windowing/exclusives prevails, piracy will be the window that opens up to the detriment of artists and the companies who have invested in them,” she said.

“The streaming market is still young, and whilst competition for subscribers is to be expected, the practise of windowing will inevitably lead to confusion about availability.

“We have great digital partners and don't wish to disadvantage any of them, and at a time when the focus should be on persuading fans to subscribe for music, any practise which gives them less than full access to all the music they want seems anachronistic and self-defeating.”

The U.K.’s Music Managers Forum stood in solidarity with the Entertainment Retailer’s Association in welcoming Grainge’s memo. Chief Executive Annabella Coldrick commented: “We believe that preventing fans from listening to their favourite artists can cause confusion, damage confidence in streaming services and increase piracy.

“Along with ERA we wish for fans to be able to consume music legally and we hope the rest of the industry will follow suit to grow the market as a whole.”

Via Twitter, Parlophone band Two Door Cinema Club, managed by Prolifica’s Colin Schaverien, revealed their third record, Gameshow, out on 10/14, won’t be exclusive on any streaming service. “Exclusives hurt [fans] in the short term and us in the long term,” they said.

Elsewhere, British digital exec Sammy Andrews said DSP exclusive bespoke content to accompany releases is great. Exclusive albums locked to one service for money, however, are not.