If you want to hear Adele’s new 25, you’re going to need to pay up.
The British singer’s hotly anticipated third album will not be available on streaming services when it’s released on Friday, unnamed sources told the New York Times. A spokesperson for Adele declined to comment to USA TODAY.
The news recalls a recent streaming music skirmish between Apple Music and Taylor Swift. Swift’s open letter to Apple last June, shortly after the Cupertino company launched its new streaming service, blasted the company for withholding royalties during the service’s three-month trial service. Apple exec Eddy Cue quickly reversed the policy. A year ago, Swift removed her catalog from Spotify, the web’s largest streaming service with 75 million subscribers, over royalty complaints.
The confirmation follows weeks of speculation in the music industry about whether or not Adele would choose to put 25 on services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, which charge monthly subscription fees of between $10 and $20 to access content. Adele’s first single, Hello, is available to listen to for free on Spotify, where it’s racked up nearly 160 million listens since early this month. But it’s the rest of the album that may require fans to dig deep.
There’s a simple reason Adele has the clout to bypass streaming with this release. Her previous hardware-collecting album, 21, has sold 11.2 million copies since its 2011 release, according to Nielsen Music. The album also cleaned up at the 2012 Grammy Awards, raking in five statuettes including Record of the Year and Album of the year. 21 is available to stream on Spotify as is Adele’s 2008 debut 19.
Sony Music is projecting first-week CD sales of 1.5 million copies, with overall downloads of about 1 million, according to Billboard. If CD and digital expectations hold, the album will bow with a combined 2.5 million copies its first week, making it the biggest debut ever since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking album sales in 1991.
Debates continue to rage over the fate of streaming music services, which operate with either an ad-based free model or a premium monthly charge model. The space is also getting increasingly crowded, with mainstays such as Spotify and Pandora now joined by Google Play Music, Amazon Prime Music, Rdio, and, most recently, the $10-a-month version of YouTube Music, called YouTube Red.
While some musicians, notably Taylor, continue to lobby hard for artists’ rights to fair royalty compensation, which can eat into streaming service profits, artists these days often acknowledge that financial success in the music business today hinges on profits from live performances and tours.
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