While anyone with a YouTube account can upload videos, Spotify has always been restrictive in allowing artists direct access to upload their music. Until now that is…
So, Spotify allowing artists to upload music directly into their platform then. That’s certainly got people talking. And while a move in this direction has seemed likely for some time, it is certainly a significant moment. Its impact on record companies and music distributors will likely be nominal at first, but it’s the latest in a number of developments that are forcing labels and distributors to think harder about how and where they add value.
Spotify announced the new direct upload feature within its Spotify For Artists platform in a blog post yesterday. It said the new feature was being launched in response to feedback from the artist community. “You’ve told us time and time again that sharing your work with the world should be easier”, the company wrote in its post.
The digital firm has already been testing the new feature with a very small number of acts, and yesterday’s post was inviting other artists to apply to participate in further beta testing. It added that feedback from the artists who have used the direct upload tool already “was instrumental in shaping the feature”.
I can’t imagine labels being too thrilled with this news. What could it mean for them?
However, to date, anyone wanting their music on a platform like Spotify needed a label or distributor to facilitate the process. That label or distributor negotiates a licensing deal with the streaming firm and then builds the technology to actually deliver the music. They then charge the artist an upfront fee or take a cut of subsequent royalties for their trouble.
By the time Spotify came along, there were already companies like CD Baby and TuneCore that would offer that kind of service to any artist for a nominal fee or commission, with those firms already working with DIY acts that wanted to sell downloads via iTunes.
The number of companies offering this kind of service has grown over the years. Universal Music has also been active in this space for some time via its Spinnup business and Warner Music quietly put a similar set-up into beta earlier this year called Level Music.
It’s DIY distribution services of this kind that could potentially be impacted by Spotify allowing artists to directly push their music into the system without paying any fees or commission, especially if Apple and Amazon were to follow their rival in offering this option down the line. Why pay a distributor fees or a commission when you can have a direct relationship with each service and not have to share income with any third parties?
There’s a lot more to unpack with this. Check out the full story.