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Spotify Shuts Down Ability for Independent Artists to Upload Music Directly

Spotify
HAYOUNG JEON/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

After less than a year, Spotify has decided shut down a test program that let independent artists upload their songs directly to the music-streaming giant. Instead, musicians — as they have had to do previously — will need to work with pre-approved distributor to get on-boarded to Spotify, if they’re not repped by a label.

The beta of Spotify’s upload tool will be discontinued July 30, 2019. The original idea with Spotify’s direct-upload test, launched last September, was to provide a simpler way for unsigned artists to get their music on the service and get paid. But the company seems to have determined the complexity involved in monitoring the rights associated with music distribution made the whole thing more trouble than it was worth — and at the same time, Spotify wants to support its distributor partners.

Spotify said hundreds of artists used the direct-upload beta test, but didn’t provide a specific number. A rep said the size of the program was deliberately kept to a small number during the closed beta period.

“The most impactful way we can improve the experience of delivering music to Spotify for as many artists and labels as possible is to lean into the great work our distribution partners are already doing to serve the artist community,” Spotify wrote in a blog post Monday.

Going forward, indie artists will need to sign up with a Spotify-approved distribution company, which provide direct access to the Spotify for Artists tool and handles licensing and distribution and pays streaming royalties. Its “preferred” distributors are DistroKid (in which Spotify owns a minority investment), CD Baby and EmuBands.

In the past year, Spotify said, “we’ve vastly improved our work with distribution partners to ensure metadata quality, protect artists from infringement, provide their users with instant access to Spotify for Artists, and more.”

According to the company, the Spotify for Artists tool is used by more than 300,000 creators to track their music on Spotify. The Spotify playlist submission tool has been used by over 36,000 artists to get playlisted for the very first time on the service since it launched a year ago.

Spotify said it will be sending artists who have released music through the beta direct-upload program discount codes from preferred distributors.