It's not a big surprise: Coldplay premiered the album as a pre-release stream on Apple's iTunes store, and famously withheld their last album Mylo Xyloto from streaming services for four months after it went on sale.
What is more of a surprise, though, is the message fans see when browsing Coldplay's artist profile on Spotify. Ghost Stories is listed there, with all bar the three available tracks greyed out.
But there's also a message: "The artist or their representatives have decided not to release this album on Spotify. We are working on it and hope they will change their mind soon."
This is the first time the company has experimented with this kind of messaging within its service for albums that have been held back. The same message appears on the Black Keys' profile for their new album 'Turn Blue', and on Beyoncé's profile for her eponymous last album, which has yet to be made available to stream.
The Coldplay message was spotted and tweeted by Kieron Donoghue, who runs the playlist-sharing service Playlists.net.
However, for Atoms for Peace – prominent critics of Spotify in recent times – there's no message, or indeed any listing for the band's albums, so the message isn't yet standard practice for any album withheld from Spotify.
Motivation? On the one hand, it's a sensible move: explaining to Spotify users why they can't listen to a particular album rather than just pretending it doesn't exist. As Spotify goes after an ever-more mainstream audience, this kind of explanation will be necessary.
However, it is also hard not to interpret the messages as a slight raising of the stakes in the ongoing debate about albums being withheld from streaming services: making sure fans know who's responsible for an album not being accessible on their service of choice, and perhaps tacitly encouraging them to protest about it.
A number of artists and songwriters have spoken out against Spotify and streaming in general over the last year, criticising the size of the royalties they get (via their label or publisher) from streams of their work.
However, holding back albums – or "windowing" as it's sometimes known – is sometimes more about trying to maximise sales through download stores like iTunes before opening out to streaming, rather than a permanent boycott on principle. Taylor Swift and Adele are two other prominent musicians whose last albums were windowed in this way.
"Coldplay has decided not to make Ghost Stories available on Spotify and other streaming services," a Spotify spokesperson told The Guardian. "There are tens of millions of the the best music fans in the world using Spotify and we're obviously disappointed at the band's decision to withhold this album from them."
Magic has been streamed 54.4m times on Spotify so far according to figures on Coldplay's profile page. A Sky Full Of Stars has been streamed 6.3m times.
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