A new row has erupted over Spotify, which is reportedly now under pressure from Universal to encourage more users to pay for its premium music streaming service.
Universal Music Group, which is the world’s largest music company, is said to be pushing for changes to the amount of music users can listen to for free on Spotify.
This would provide more royalty payments for bands and individual artists.
The service was shaken last year by the departure of Taylor Swift, who removed her entire catalogue from the streaming service after arguing that musicians should not "undervalue their art" by letting fans listen to their songs for free.
Earlier this month her latest album 1989 claimed a total US sales figure that is in excess of 4.5 million.
"It's my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album's price point is," Swift said.
"I hope they don't underestimate themselves or undervalue their art."
Musicians against Spotify
Musicians against Spotify
1/10 Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift does not what her work to be used as an 'experiment' by Spotify and believes that artists are treated unfairly. She withdrew her entire catalogue in November 2014.
2/10 Thom Yorke
The Radiohead frontman famously described Spotify as 'the last desperate fart of a dying corpse' in October 2013.
3/10 David Byrne
David Byrne of Talking Heads wrote about not understanding Spotify's claim of discovery in a Guardian op-ed. 'The inevitable result would seem to be that the internet will suck the creative content out of the whole world until nothing is left,' he said.
Beck dismissed the Spotify model as 'not working' because of how little it pays musicians. He added that the 'saddest thing' about streaming is the poor sound quality - 'It's like watching Citizen Kane on your phone'.
5/10 The Black Keys
Dan Auerbach has described Spotify's payment to artists as 'so minuscule it's laughable'. 'If you are a bigger band that's already known and you rely on record sales for a living then it's really no place to be,' he said.
6/10 Atoms for Peace
Thom Yorke's other band refused to let Spotify stream their songs. Nigel Godrich from the group described the service as 'an equation that just doesn't work'. 'Small labels and new artists can't even keep their lights on. It's just not right,' he said.
7/10 Yannis Philippakis
The Foals singer said he would rather that somebody stole his record on vinyl than bought it or streamed it on Spotify. He described using Spotify as like going to a top class restaurant and leaving only coppers without paying the bill.
8/10 Aimee Mann
The US singer-songwriter has not put her music on Spotify because she does not think artists make a fair amount of money from the streaming service.
9/10 Grizzly Bear
The band tweeted in 2012 that Spotify provides a great service for people but does as much to help bands as 'downloading from Limewire'.
10/10 Jason Isbell
Jason Isbell of Drive-By Truckers has used the single word 'evil' to describe Spotify.
Spotify, which has 60 million users and 15 million paying subscribers around the world, has resisted tightening or changing the free aspect of its service, claiming it would slow the conversion of free to paying users.
Free music streaming with advertising generated $295m for music labels in 2014 in the US alone.
"Without free, pay has never succeeded," Jonathan Forster, who heads the Nordics region for Spotify, told the Financial Times (£).
"We're one of the greenest shoots of growth in the industry. We don’t want to destabilise that. We think that this model works."
Lucian Grainge, Universal's chief executive, told the Recode conference last month that the music industry needed to "accelerate paid subscription" in streaming.
"Ad-funded on-demand is not going to sustain the entire ecosystem of the creators as well as the investors," he said.
Simon Wheeler, director of strategy at Beggars Group, which owns the 4AD and XL labels, told the FT said that criticism of Spotify’s model was "unfortunate" as Spotify has been "more successful than any other company in converting people from free to paid".
Spotify users can currently listen to as much free music as they want for an unlimited period of time, although they cannot choose tracks on its mobile app or listen to it offline.
A Spotify spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by The Independent.Reuse content