Spotify Bags U2 Album Exclusive; Now Watch It Grow

Spotify may have recently had to retroactively delete a bunch of tracks for which it did not have rights – but it’s now scored quite a coup by winning the right to showcase U2’s new No Line On The Horizon album in the UK and Spain. Online pre-release windows are nothing new nowadays, but usually labels grant them to more established services like, imeem and iLike; Spotify’s win is a victory for a service so new and represents confidence on U2 label Universal’s part as to its fast-growing reputation – just like labels had entrusted those other platforms before it. Release.

The Swedish- and British-based app offers a very large catalogue of tunes for on-demand streaming from the cloud, either for free with ad support, for £0.99 a day or £9.99 a month. It’s garnered rave reviews in recent weeks, but it’s still early days for ad sales – so far, Spotify mostly runs only public service audio announcements and a few banners for music artists. Still, the Disaster Emergency Committee’s Gaza appeal radio ad doesn’t exactly sound out of place sandwiched between U2 tracks. In Sweden, Norway and Finland, the U2 exclusive goes only to Spotify Premium users; those everywhere else will get the album after its March 3 street date.

Disclosure: Spotify’s U2 preview is being co-promoted with paidContent:UK’s publisher ContentNext is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian News & Media. The Spotify/Guardian arrangement was reached independently of paidContent:UK.