Why do streaming services of movies and tv shows have platform exclusivity, but music streaming services don’t?



Why do streaming services of movies and tv shows have platform exclusivity, but music streaming services don’t?

In: Other

Video streaming services are willing to pay more to get exclusivity, and audio streaming services do this much less frequently. It seems producers think more people will sign up for Disney+ to see Black Widow than will sign up for iTunes to hear some exclusive track.


It has to do with how they charge for each type of content.

Video is sold as an unlimited license. You sell it to a service but your users can use it an unlimited amount of times. You pay one price for unlimited usage. This generally makes it so the owners of the services and video content want to sign one single Huge deal for the content and the streaming services distinguish their service from others by what exclusive content they have.

For music, there is only a charge when a user plays it (pay per use). Every time a user plays it, the service pays a fee, and the music label gets paid. This pushes them to make it available everywhere they can possible to get the most plays possible. You should also note, that music is basically all owned by 3 companies, so their plan is to not favor any service, they’ll let anyone try to make money with their music, if one service pisses them off, so what, they have sold it to 50 others. This also helps them keep their charge for music high, since at any point, if a streaming service doesn’t want to pay them, they can just remove their music (as its still available on 50 other platforms), and the service is screwed.

Some artists do initial availability via a specific service before going to all steaming services which is the closest analogy to exclusives.

The pay by stream methodology of paying for music though means it’s generally in the rights owners interest to have it available to all listeners. Movies tend to be sold in chunks/batches and then for a fixed fee rather than per view.

Lots of music does have exclusivity, just not nearly as much as tv shows and movies. A big part of this is because various movie ans series streaming services are paying more for exclusivity up to and including producing shows/movies on their own.

Most musicians don’t want to have their music pigeon holed into 1 streaming service because that cuts down on their potential royalties. It does happen though. I think AC/DC once released an album exclusively through Wal Mart and if memory serves me, it worked out pretty well due to Wal Mart pumping the hell out of the album and back catalogue. That’s a pretty unique situation though.

There actually are a lot of examples of music being exclusive to platforms.

Beyoncé’s self-titled album was only available as a purchase from iTunes or a physical retailer at launch, and wasn’t on any streaming service. For a while, her album Lemonade was exclusive to Tidal (as well as some Jay-Z albums).

For a long period of time, Taylor Swift albums were only available on Apple Music.

Also, in addition to what others have said, part of why you see so many streaming exclusives with movies/TV is because the companies that own the shows also own the service. Disney isn’t going to make anywhere near as much money with their shows on Netflix, but they will with Disney+ and Hulu. Most music streaming services aren’t owned by record labels or artists, and they’re getting paid similar rates regardless of each one.