Spotify Shutters Artist Direct Upload Program
Do you remember back in Sept’18 when Spotify launched an Artist Direct Upload beta test on its platform? This was Spotify’s attempt at User Generated Content (UGC), similar what SoundCloud does in music streaming and YouTube does with online videos. At the time there was speculation that Spotify would use Artist Direct Uploads to eventually disintermediate the record labels. Traditionally labels have earned their living by discovering new artists, producing albums, distributing songs, and selling records. So if an artist can produce their own music and distribute it on streaming platforms would they even need the likes of Sony, Warner or Universal?
I guess we won’t have to worry about the answer to that question, based on yesterday’s announcement that Spotify is discontinuing its UGC beta. There wasn’t a formal statement on the decision – just a Here’s What Artists Need To Know post on their corporate website. Spotify goes on to explain, “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 artist distribution partners are already doing to serve the artist community.”
For outsiders there’s no telling why or how this decision was made, but it’s definitely a net win for the labels who are suddenly back en vogue.