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How Spotify’s New Upload Feature Hurts Labels, but Helps Artists

Last week, Spotify launched beta testing for a new music-upload tool that puts the power of uploading music into the artist’s hands. The uploads are run through Spotify for Artists, a pre-existing artist dashboard offered by the streaming service, and the tool allows independent artists to circumvent the need for a major label to push their music onto the platform. Artists will be able to upload tracks, preview their appearance on Spotify, and edit track metadata. The biggest benefit? Independent artists who upload their own tracks will receive 50% of the track’s payouts direct deposited into their bank account.

We’ve seen this format before on platforms like Soundcloud, but what does this mean for Spotify? Allowing artists to publish their own music is yet another move that pits the streaming service against record labels. Though Spotify denies suspicions that they’re looking to serve as their own record deals, the upload tool and recent contracts with independent artists have naturally raised the hackles of major executives. The 50% artist payout may mean that artists would come out ahead by publishing their own music instead of using a record label; some traditional label payouts are as low as 15%.

Speculations are flying that this competition could lead labels to withhold offers that Spotify has seen in the past. More exclusives could be migrating to competitive platforms like Apple Music once the year’s contracts have concluded. This is concerning for Spotify’s investors, who may view this as a major detriment to the platform’s longterm viability.

For independent artists, however, the upload tool could mean huge breakthroughs. Unlike Soundcloud and YouTube, which are the most visible platforms that offer similar upload services, Spotify offers curated playlists, a huge draw for listeners. Should one of their tracks garner the attention of a playlist curator, their profits and popularity are likely to skyrocket.

This is fantastic news for EDM fans, as well. Once the upload tool is fully launched, more of your favorite independent artists could be available to stream from the ever-popular platform. Spotify’s mobile app has consistently been more user-friendly than Soundcloud’s, so listening to and discovering new music could be easier than ever.

What do you think this move means for Spotify? Let us know in the comments!