Indie Artists Can't Go It Alone on Spotify Anymore

Spotify has canceled a service that lets independent artists upload music directly to the service.
Donna Fuscaldo
Spotify app on a mobile phonestockam/iStock

Nearly a year after testing the ability for independent artists to upload their music directly to the streaming service, Spotify announced it is ending the experiment. 

In a blog post, the Stockholm-based company said based on feedback it received during the beta test, it realized that cutting out the middlemen wasn't the best way to bring more music to its customers. 


"The most impactful way we can improve the experience of delivering music to Spotify for as many artists and labels as possible is to lean into the great work our distribution partners are already doing to serve the artist community," wrote the streaming music service in the post.  "Over the past year, we’ve vastly improved our work with distribution partners to ensure metadata quality, protect artists from infringement, provide their users with instant access to Spotify for Artists, and more." Spotify for Artist is a tool used by more than 300,000 creators to learn more about their audiences and its playlist submission tool to get more exposure. The company said it will add more features in the coming months. 

Artists Need Distributors Again

At the end of July Spotify said it will stop accepting any new uploads and warned artists will have to move already released content to another service. Artists who want to be added to the Spotify platform will have to once again work with one of its pre-approved distributors.  These distribution companies provide artists with access to the streaming service and take care of licensing, distribution and royalties, things Spotify may have found too complex to handle on its own. 

The idea behind Spotify's experiment was to give unsigned artists a way to have their music heard and make money off of it. Hundreds of artists reportedly used the service which Spotify kept small on purpose as it tested it. 

Apple Closing In On Spotify

The move on the part of Spotify to end its direct upload service comes as Apple tries to chip away at its streaming music dominance.  Spotify has 100 million subscribers located around the world. Apple's streaming service now has 60 million users. That 60 million includes those who are trying the service for free.

Apple ended 2018 with 50 million subscribers, which means it's taken more than six months to add ten million more. Spotify, in contrast, boosted its paid subscriber base by 25 million in the fourth quarter alone.  Apple is leading when it comes to its own ecosystem.  Apple Music is the number one streaming service for iPhone users.

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