Three big acts you still can’t sing along to on Spotify or Apple Music

Alex Kidman 13 February 2017 NEWS


Prince’s back catalog has just hit Spotify and iTunes, but there are some big-name acts you can’t stream through subscription services.

To say that Prince had an unusual relationship with the Internet would perhaps be to understate the often eccentric musician’s take on the online world. He was lauded as an Internet music pioneer, but also stated in one instance that the Internet was "completely over". He launched several online-only stores to sell his work to fans while simultaneously taking legal action against those same fans for putting his work up on YouTube. He inked a deal to have his music appear on Tidal, but following his untimely passing, his estate sued Tidal over streaming rights.

It would appear that his estate has finally sorted out the legal wrinkles, with the majority of the funk legend’s albums appearing simultaneously over Apple Music, Spotify and Google Play Music. It’s not the artist’s complete output, with his later, post-Warners "Artist Formerly Known As Prince" era albums mostly missing, as well as the complete absence of "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World". Despite those gaps, for most regular fans of his work, it's certainly enough to be getting on with.

Prince was one of the last big holdouts for streaming services. While there are plenty of smaller acts that can’t be found, and other genres such as standup comedy are poorly represented, there are still a number of big name acts that you still can’t stream. Some artists, such as Taylor Swift or Thom Yorke are exclusive to Apple Music. If you're a fan of The Traveling Wilburys they're on Spotify, but not Apple Music. Certain exclusives, often time-limited, are pretty much Tidal’s entire selling point, but there are numerous artists who are essentially absent from the streaming scene.

Garth Brooks

Country music may not be your thing, but Garth Brooks’ success can’t be understated. He’s the best selling solo artist of all time in the US, ahead of artists such as Elvis Presley, and second only to The Beatles in terms of album sales. Those kinds of figures indicate a very healthy fanbase.
But if you feel like listening to his musical output, you’re going to have to buy albums or singles, not stream them. Brooks does have a deal with Amazon Music, but that doesn't extend to Australia. Brooks doesn’t even sell his music through iTunes or Google Play if you wanted digital copies, although Australian copyright law would make it entirely legal for you to rip copies of albums you already own.


Similarly, if you’re a fan of Tool, you won’t find any of their hits or albums on streaming services. The band is apparently not in favour of streaming services on artistic grounds. Fundamentally, they like albums, but streaming subscription services favour single track listening. The practical upshot if you’re a Tool fan is that you’ll have to, like Brooks, resort to ripping your legally purchased albums to listen to them on mobile devices.

De La Soul

Hey, how ya doing'? If you’re hip-hop pioneers De La Soul, the answer is "not streaming", with the classic albums from the group’s heyday notably absent from streaming services. This is apparently a complex rights issue. The group isn’t opposed to their music being on streaming services, or indeed online. Back in 2014 the group offered their entire back catalogue to download for free, but only for a single day. The rights are complex, which is why you can find later works such as The Grind Date on streaming services, but classic albums such as 3 Feet High and Rising or De La Soul Is Dead remain out of streaming reach.

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