Albums by selected artists will be exclusively available to Spotify Premium subscribers for a fortnight before users of the ad-supported free tier can access them.

Until now, all Spotify users had access to the same music catalogue, whether they subscribed to the Premium tier or used its ad-supported free tier. However, as from today that's changing. 

Spotify has announced artists signed to the Universal Music Group (UMG) label will have their albums exclusively available to Spotify Premium users. Those on the free tier will have to wait for two weeks.

Universal Music artists include Beck, Lorde, Katy Perry and Kanye West, but the streaming service says artists can choose whether or not the two-week exclusive window will apply to their work.

The news confirms earlier reports that Spotify is considering implementing exclusive releases into its service

MORE: Google Play Music adds sound quality options for downloads and streaming

More after the break

In a statement, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said: "Starting today, Universal artists can choose to release new albums on premium only for two weeks, offering subscribers an earlier chance to explore the complete creative work, while the singles are available across Spotify for all our listeners to enjoy.

"We know that not every album by every artist should be released the same way, and we’ve worked hard with UMG to develop a new, flexible release policy." 

It's currently unclear what effect this will have on Spotify's users. Main competitors Tidal, Apple Music and Amazon Music do not have free tiers and so it is unlikely users will move to those services.

However, this could be the start of a move towards certain albums being completely exclusive to Spotify, which could decrease competition between services and reduce innovation.

MORE: SoundCloud launches a mid-tier subscription service to rival Spotify and Apple Music

MORE: Best music streaming services