The deals wouldn’t be exclusive or otherwise hand over important rights. Musicians could still license their tracks to Apple or other platforms, and they’d still own their recordings. They’d just have to negotiate separate deals with other services. Spotify couldn’t do this with major artists as it would represent direct competition with big labels and violate their licensing agreements.
Spotify didn’t have a comment on the report. However, this would potentially save the service some cash even as it offered indies yet another incentive to sign up. It could simultaneously increase the chances that Spotify strikes gold. If an up-and-coming indie proved to be successful, Spotify would both reap extra rewards and give that artist a financial reason to stick around.