Adele’s new album “25,” scheduled for release today, has been highly anticipated by fans and the music industry, but you won’t be able to stream any of the new songs. The major digital music services were informed that “25” would not be available for streaming on Thursday, less than 24 hours before the album’s release.
Adele is said to have been personally involved with the decision. Adele’s longtime manager, Jonathan Dickins, said that their biggest objection to streaming is the wide availability of music on free, advertising-supported models like Spotify and YouTube.
The new album is the first album from Adele in nearly five years. Many are anticipating that the new album will be a massive hit. According to Billboard magazine, the new Adele album “25,” released by XL/Columbia, is expected to sell about 2.5 million copies in the United States in its first week. The last album to hit that sales figure in its first week was ’N Sync’s “No Strings Attached,” which sold just over 2.4 million copies in early 2000.
Many music executives believe that streaming is the future of music, but conflicts have arisen between the streaming services and the artists that make the music over royalty payments and issues of control. Services like Spotify and Apple Music have been repeatedly dinged by artists for not paying them enough for their music. Many artists have no choice but to offer their music for streaming if they want to get their music to the masses, meaning that they have to accede to the terms set by the services.
However, a few superstars, including Adele, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé, have enough clout to dictate the terms of their music’s release. Ms. Swift made the decision to withdraw her music from Spotify last year, saying the service devalued her music by letting users listen to it free. Beyoncé withheld her last album, “Beyoncé,” from streaming for nearly a year. The last Adele record, “21,” was kept from Spotify for more than a year and went on to sell more than 30 million copies around the world.
Streaming is currently the fastest-growing part of the music business. Millions of listeners have come to prefer streaming to buying downloads or CDs. Spotify now has 75 million listeners, 20 million of whom pay for subscriptions. Apple Music has 6.5 million paying subscribers and 7.5 million more who were using it as a free trial.