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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Universal Music Group Shuts Down Apple Music Exclusives

(The Wrap-Up Magazine) Apple’s iTunes, Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group and widely regarded as the most powerful executive in the music industry, has reportedly ordered the company’s labels to stop the practice of making “exclusive” distribution deals with streaming services.

According to Bob Lefsetz, author of an influential music industry newsletter, Grainge sent out a company-wide email on Monday. UMG, which boasted seven of 2015’s 10 best-selling albums and 38.5% of the year’s recorded-music sales, will be the first major label to ban the practice, which many feel has begun to diminish rather than enhance the way music is distributed and consumed.

The directive will affect dozens of bands under the UMG umbrella, including all five of this year’s album of the year Grammy nominees: Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, the Weeknd, Chris Stapleton and Alabama Shakes.

The practice of artists offering exclusives to competing streaming and download services, including Apple and Tidal, has been gaining traction this year. Both Beyoncé and Rihanna launched their recent albums through Tidal, the streaming service part-owned by Beyoncé’s husband, Jay Z.

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