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Spotify is disrupting the modern day digital distribution methodology

The music industry is continually changing and evolving, especially with technologies. Sweden-based Spotify has went into beta testing for the Spotify For Artists users to directly upload their music to the platform. The streaming giant was already testing this feature with artists like Noname, Michael Brun, VIAA, and Hot Shade. According to a blog post, “a few hundred U.S.-based independent artists” will receive an invitation to join. Artists that are signed up with their mailing list may see an invite in the forthcoming weeks or months.

Uploading a track to Spotify is like uploading it to SoundCloud

Seriously. If you are not contracted with a music distributor like TuneCore or DistroKid, then you can simply login to your Spotify For Artists account, upload your track and the artwork, and then fill in the metadata with the relevant information. Once you’ve uploaded it, preview the track to ensure everything looks correct and then publish or schedule it to go live on a certain date.

Spotify create your own release

Spotify For Artists senior product lead for creator marketplace Kene Anoliefo told Billboard, “We’ve focused on making the tool easy, flexible and transparent. There will be no limit or constraint on how often they can upload. We think that can open up a really interesting creative space for artists to begin sharing their music to their fans on Spotify.”

You’ll get deeper analytics on royalties–and get them faster–by directly uploading to Spotify

Having partnered with Stripe, Spotify will utilize their system to payout royalties and deposit them directly into your bank account. The streaming giant partnered with Samsung later this summer to deliver personalized music to its customers. The partnership with Stripe is a clear path for transparency for artists whose royalties are constantly being eaten up by distributors–they usually take 50-80 percent. Spotify did mention that artists will “receive up to 50 percent of its net revenue and will keep 100 percent of royalties on that music,” according to Billboard.

Spotify royalty dashboard

By uploading directly to the streaming service you’ll get monthly royalty payments rather than quarterly. (Music distributors generally pay quarterly.) In addition to getting royalties sooner you’ll be able to see projections as to what your next royalty check will look like. Royalties have always been one of the mystifying streams of income in music, and Spotify is creating 100 percent transparency with them.

“One of the things we’ve heard from the tests is this level of transparency really helps artists be able to plan and budget for the future as well as connect their overall performance on Spotify — how their music is performing, how their fans are discovering their music — using all those existing tools along with these additional tools to release music and get paid,” Anoliefo told Billboard. “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.”

Goodbye to music aggregators?

Did Spotify just set the trend for the future of the music industry? Did they just dig a grave for music aggregators like TuneCore, DistroKid, and RouteNote? Through direct uploading, artists no longer have to pay a third party distributor a monthly/yearly fee and have a percentage of their royalties taken out. It is good to note, however, that uploading to Spotify will not allow your music to be released on Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Music, etc. This is just for Spotify. However, this may set a precedent for the future of music distribution by directly uploading and bypassing third party distributors.

Personally, I’m not sure if this is going to catch on. Are all of the music streaming services going to partner with one another so they can cross release through each other? Or am I going to have to go to 10-20 different digital service providers, upload and type all of the information in each time I want to release a song? There’s a big gray area here, but I’m sure time will tell.


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