Last September, almost a year ago now, Spotify began beta testing a feature where they allowed independent artists to upload their music directly using Spotify for Artists.
Uploading was free to artists who were granted access to Spotify for Artists without any fees or commissions. The beta program was initially open to select artists by invitation only but had expanded to include more since September 2018. The artists cut in on 50% of Spotify’s net revenue and were allowed to keep 100% of royalties for the songs uploaded, as reported by Forbes.
As of two days ago (July 1, 2019) they announced they will be withdrawing the feature and informed participants of the beta that they will once again require a third-party distributor to be involved in the process. They also shared steps on how the artists should migrate the music over to other distributors by the end of the month so as to not have it removed.
When they announced they will be discontinuing the feature, Spotify also decided to share the key insights they gained from the beta test. They said they felt the best way for them to serve artists and labels is to focus their resources on developing tools in areas where Spotify can uniquely benefit them — like Spotify for Artists (which more than 300,000 creators use to gain new insight into their audience) and the playlist submission tool (which more than 36,000 artists have used to get playlisted for the very first time since it launched a year ago). They also went on to say there are a lot more plans in the pipeline for the coming months.
They went on to add,
“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. 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.”
While Spotify has been in the news for most times the right reasons, when it comes to this one, it comes with a little bit of a backlash as they offered the option and are now taking it away. This will mean once again, independent artists will have to upload their music to the streaming service through third-party distributors. As reported by TechCrunch, Spotify is pointing artists participating in the beta to other distributors, including preferred partners DistroKid, CD Baby and EmuBands. The beta upload tool itself will shut down on July 30, 2019.
In addition to the official announcement, Spotify is sending out emails to the beta participants with discounts on switching to other distributors, which may include either a free first year of service or free first release.