The parade of self-gating artists marches on. Gwen Stefani is the latest to only allow streaming of her new release on paid streaming services. Spotify members curious to hear her album This Is What The Truth Feels Like see a message that the release will be available on April 1. That’s a two-week delay from the album’s official launch.
“Of course, part of me is going to stand there and be like, ‘Pay me the money! I made the music! This is my job! This is my gift! I need to get some kind of compensation because I have to live,’” Stefani said of her decision.
At this point, the arguments from both sides have been made many times. Artists who chose to gate their creations, even temporarily, want to encourage more sales and listening on streaming services that require listeners to pay for access to music. On the other hand, Spotify and ad-supported streaming services say that gating could encourage more piracy if listeners can’t find tunes on their platform of choice. Spotify has been unwilling to have music available only to the subscription tier of the streaming platform, which has been requested by many performers as a way they would consider putting new music on that service.
Last year, Adele’s 25 was the big album excluded from Spotify. Before that it was Taylor Swift’s 1989. Other notable recent efforts to gate music off freemium sources include Coldplay, Rihanna, and Kanye West.