UPDATED: Those of us who have never uploaded music to Spotify may not know that it doesn’t really work like, say, Facebook or a blog or even Soundcloud — an artist must go through a distributor or aggregator to have their music added to the platform.
Well, those days will soon be over: The company today announced a new feature — currently in beta — that enables independent artists to upload their music directly to the platform via Spotify for Artists (see the landing page above). The company has already tested the feature with a few hundreds U.S.-based independent artists — including Noname, Michael Brun, VIAA, and Hot Shade — who gave their feedback, and in the coming weeks they will be inviting more — “make sure to join our mailing list so you’ll be the first to know about any new announcements,” the company stresses.
According to the announcement (currently on the company’s blog), “You’ll see a preview of exactly how things will appear to listeners before you hit submit. And even after your music goes live, you’ll be in full control of your metadata with simple and quick edits. Just like releasing through any other partner, you’ll get paid when fans stream your music on Spotify. Your recording royalties will hit your bank account automatically each month, and you’ll see a clear report of how much your streams are earning right next to the other insights you already get from Spotify for Artists.” (Check out the feature here.)
The feature is free, and no limits are set on how much music an artist can upload.
“We’ve tried to make it as simple and transparent as possible,” says Kene Anoliefo, the company’s Senior Product Lead, Creator Marketplace. “Artists can log in whenever they like and add song files, cover art, metadata and all that, and then hit ‘upload,’ and they can make changes after it goes live. We’ve also added a lot of transparency to royalties — artists can track their history in the dashboard and even see estimates for future payments, which can help them to plan and budget.”
That, of course, puts much more responsibility on the artist for actually understanding how royalties work, no matter how simple the platform may seem. Joe Conyers, co-founder and GM of digital-rights management platform Songtrust and VP Technology of Downtown Music Publishing, says, “While it’s great to see more flexibility for the independent community to make decisions about independent licensing, the fact is this is still only one part of being fully DIY. Independent creators still need to collect thousands of types of royalties. This move will not include songwriter and publishing royalties which many independent creators and businesses continue to fail to collect from Spotify.”
Kevin Breuner, VP of marketing at CD Baby, added, “At CD Baby, we have been managing relationships with artists for 20 years, especially artists who are emerging or wanting to reach a global market. We’ve built a community through a rich set of educational resources on our blog and podcast, and at our annual conference. These relationships are about a lot more than pushing files to a service. It’s easy to create an interface. It’s not so easy to deal with over 30,000 incoming contacts each month from a huge variety of artists of all backgrounds, genres, ages, and stages in their career, as we do.”
Asked about the safeguards in place, Anoliefo stressed that the feature is currently in beta, and that all of the company’s monitoring technology is in place — both in terms of content and potential copyright-infringement — and that its rules are clearly laid out in its terms of service.