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Spotify Adds Direct Uploads For Indie Artists
On Sept. 20, Spotify announced that it has begun beta trials of a feature allowing independent artists to upload their new tracks directly to the service for users to stream. The company emphasized that this is just one new way to release music on Spotify, and that this has been the most requested Spotify for Artists feature.
Spotify for Artists has tried to sweeten its destination for talent with various tools such as analytics and ways to communicate with fans. In a blog post announcing this beta feature, it described how they've been working with an initial handful of indie musicians including Michael Brun, Hot Shade, Noname, and VIAA to develop its interactivity and ease-of-use. "Their feedback was instrumental in shaping the feature, and now we're ready to see how a wider range of artists will put it to use," Spotify said in the blog post. "Right now, upload in Spotify for Artists is only available by invitation to a few hundred US-based independent artists, but we're excited to bring upload to even more artists, labels, and teams in the future."
Speculation abounds about the significance and financial terms of this new feature. It's free, in contrast to CD Baby, DistroKid and Tunecore. It pays, unlike SoundCloud. "There's not that much information needed other than the music and the metadata associated with it, and then we'll take care of the rest," said Spotify product lead Kene Anoliefo. Indie artists will get to set their release date, preview how their offering will appear to users, keep their royalties and rights, and receive 50 percent of whatever revenue Spotify takes in from their track.
It seems like an organic addition to what Spotify for Artists already offers, although observers speculate this means Spotify is trying to replace the role of record labels. Certainly for artists such as Chance The Rapper or countless DJ/producers who choose to initially go it alone in the music world, this is an opportunity to begin earning money for their music from a major platform at an earlier stage in their career, without signing away rights or making a major commitment to a label. Behind the scenes, as artists' fingers control their role in the music business more effectively, this is likely to empower new creative marketing strategies especially because it's been designed — with input from artists — to fit transparently within Spotify's extensive analytics and other tools for talent.