Spotify Ends Direct Upload Program, Leaving Distribution to Its Partners

Courtesy of Spotify

The program will cease accepting new uploads at the end of the month.

Just shy of a year since its launch, Spotify is shutting down its upload beta program, which allows independent artists to load their music directly onto the platform for free.

The feature was met by a swift backlash last fall, as it effectively lets artists bypass traditional digital distributors when uploading to and collecting royalties from the streamer. But in a blog post published Monday morning, Spotify said it now plans to put that responsibility back into the hands of its distribution partners.

"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," the blog post reads. "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."

Spotify, which cites feedback from artists in the beta program as reasoning for the shutdown, will cease accepting new uploads through Spotify for Artists at the end of the month. Meanwhile, the streamer will help those who already have uploaded music through the beta migrate their work to another provider.

The decision to abandon its distribution efforts — an already-crowded field in the music industry — is part of an overall push at Spotify to focus on its more unique offerings, like its playlist submission tool and Spotify for Artists suite. While Spotify for Artists is for now a free service, the company plans to begin charging artists and labels for its tools in the future, building a two-sided marketplace for users and artists. (Spotify has yet to set a firm date for that change.)

"Thank you to the artists who participated in our upload beta," the post continues. "We’re incredibly proud to have played a small part in the music they released. Spotify wouldn’t be what it is today without artists and labels who are willing to collaborate with us to build a better experience for creators and listeners."

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