— Music streaming giant, Spotify, puts an end to their beta program which allowed artists to upload their music directly to the platform.
Back in September of 2018, music streaming platform, Spotify, announced that they would soon be unveiling their newest feature in which artists would be able to upload their own content. This feature was only available to a select few artists via Spotify’s beta program while Spotify collected user feedback that would allow for further upgrades. Now, based on that very feedback, Spotify has decided to discontinue the feature altogether.
The ability for artists to upload their own music originally came across as a major game changer due to the fear that the middleman (distribution companies like DistroKid, EmuBands, and CD Baby) would eventually become obsolete. However, many of the few hundred artists in this beta program found Spotify’s direct upload feature pointless seeing that they would still have to use distribution services to get their content on Tidal, Apple Music, or any other streaming platforms.
Furthermore, Spotify had also recently announced their investment in DistroKid which supports cross-platform uploads to Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon, Google Play, Tidal, iHeartRadio, YouTube, Deezer and more. While Spotify originally planned on integrating DistroKid with their artist upload feature, this would cause an overlap in the purpose and functions of their own in-house tool.
With that being said, Spotify has made it clear that their efforts would be better served on the development of their platform’s unique features, such as tools for playlist submission or upgrades to the Spotify for Artists dashboard. The beta upload tool itself will be unavailable after July 30th with no more invites being offered. Artists will be only paid for July 2019 streams and the final payout will be August 28, 2019.
Another speculated reason for this announcement is that direct uploads would have an obvious effect on record labels who use their distribution services as a major selling point. However, there has been no official mention of conflict between record labels and Spotify. In fact, when making the announcement, the company stated,
“We’re working with our distribution partners to help make this transition as simple as possible for the artists who uploaded music through the beta…Thank you to the artists who participated in our upload beta. We’re incredibly proud to have played a small part in the music they released. Spotify wouldn’t be what it is today without artists and labels who are willing to collaborate with us to build a better experience for creators and listeners.”
Even with Spotify overhauling its entire app for premium subscribers this past June, planning to invest $400-$500 million in the thriving podcast marketplace, and recently revealing that they have 217 million monthly global users, it seems they still have major moves ahead.