— 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.

— Multifaceted artist, Mereba (AKA Marian Mereba), is ready to recharge and get back to work after recently coming off of tour. But, before you start looking for new work from her, check out her first Spotify Playlist Takeover.

Although Marian Mereba isn’t quite a household name just yet, the Ethiopian-American musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer can easily be viewed as one of the most eclectic artists on the scene. As a frequent collaborator of Atlanta’s Spillage Village Hip-Hop collectiveMereba has been featured on countless Hip-Hop tracks and has been highly sought after for her ability to flawlessly blend numerous genres. In fact, her musical palette makes her the perfect candidate for playlist curation and Spotify has taken notice. One can only imagine that this had a lot to do with their decision to reach out to Mereba to takeover their Shuga Cane playlist.

The playlist features an incredible assortment of artists and songs from a variety of genres and cultural backgrounds within the African diaspora. When announcing her Shuga Cane takeover on Facebook Mereba wrote,

“It’s in celebration of today’s launch of Spotify’s new #AfroHub  which is a space to celebrate our rich & diverse African heritages & shine new light on music across the African diaspora.”

The phenomenal list of artists featured on the playlist include Arima Ederra, Fela Kuti, Ari Lennox, Afro B, Kardinal Offishall, Masego, Noname, Smino, J.I.D., Sade, Miriam Makeba, and too many more to name.

The playlist is undoubtedly worth a listen (or ten), so be sure to check it out right here. Also, stay tuned for more from Mereba as she’s been working on a new project. Her latest 2 releases,“Black Truck” and“Planet U” are expected to appear on the project as well—both of which appear on the Shuga Cane playlist above.

-Music streaming giant, Spotify, has commenced their plan to bypass music labels and distributors by allowing artists to upload their content directly to their service.

On Thursday morning, Spotify made a huge splash amongst the music industry when they emailed several hundred independent artists inviting them to use their newest feature. This feature will allow artists to upload content to their Spotify accounts without having to go through a music label or distributor, while also receiving automatic royalty payments.

While this feature is still in “invite-only”/beta mode, this is still a monumental update in the company’s ‘Spotify for Artists’ program. Up until now, artists have been able to manage their pages and monitor viewer engagement, but according to the senior product lead on Spotify’s creative marketplace team, Kene Anoliefo, that wasn’t enough. In an interview with Rolling Stone he stated,

Artists have told us that releasing their music on Spotify can sometimes be a little nerve-wracking, so we wanted to give as much transparency to the process as possible…The new features we built really speak to ease and flexibility. We’re working with independent artists and their teams to own their copyright and distribute their content.”

Indie artists like Noname and Michael Brun have been working with Spotify on the development of their new tools which include the ability to upload music without limits on frequency, size, or quantity. This updated version of Spotify also allows artists to edit metadata as well as review and receive royalties on a monthly basis. There’s even a “future estimated payment” feature that projects next month’s earnings.

Spotify

Spotify

Spotify

This new format is sure to help independent artists all over the world distribute their content faster and more efficiently without sharing their hard earned royalties with other parties. On the other hand, I’m sure you can imagine the dissatisfaction amongst music labels and distribution companies as yet another major technological shift makes them a bit more obsolete.

Nonetheless, the game is changing right in front of our very eyes and it’s time for everyone involved in this circus known as the music industry to adjust yet again.

Spotify plans on rolling out more invitations in the coming weeks and months while also making tweaks based on the feedback of their beta users. So, stay on the lookout for when this program officially goes live. Better yet, you may be one of the lucky indie artists that have a chance to test the platform before it is available to all. Either way, prepare for a major game-changer.

Check out the official Spotify blog post here.