NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Almost a year after Spotify opened its platform to allow independent artists to bypass traditional music distribution routes by uploading directly to the streaming service, Spotify is killing the program.
The tool, which debuted as a beta program last September, allowed artists invited to participate, to upload music to Spotify, and to control the music’s metadata, effectively putting Spotify in direct competition with the music distribution companies that provide it with virtually all of its content.
After the program was announced last September, the reaction from the major labels was both swift and overwhelming negative. While representatives for the majors declined to comment, numerous unnamed sources at the labels, suggesting that the direct licensing deals with artists might complicate Spotify’s licensing negotiations with the majors.
“It’s almost a warning shot by the labels to remind Spotify that, as these stories play out, it’s not just Spotify that controls the narrative,” Bill Werde, the director of Syracuse University’s Bandier Program on the music industry, told the New York Times last September.
In announcing their decision to pull the plug on the beta program, Spotify appeared to acknowledge their misstep, stating:
“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. Over the past year, 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.”
“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. At the end of this month, we’ll stop accepting any new uploads through Spotify for Artists, and artists will need to move their already released content to another provider,” the statement added.
Spotify said that plan to refocus their development efforts at improving the music delivery experience for Spotify, including their Spotify for Artists analytics and their playlist submission tool, which helps new artists to get added to appropriate playlists to gain exposure.
According to TechCrunch, several hundred artists participated in the beta, and several hundred more who were invited to participate did not upload music.