Spotify supporting indie artists



Opinion columnist Sam King discusses the benefits of Spotify's new program that allows free uploading of music for independent artists.

SAM KING, Opinion Columnist

Let’s talk about some good news in the media world. Spotify, everyone’s favorite music app, has rolled out a new beta program that will now allow independent artists to directly upload their music to the program for free.

Spotify is now making it much easier for lesser-known artists to get their music out into the public. This is definitely great news for those artists, as well as someone who enjoys indie music or supporting small artists.

Previously, anyone who wanted to upload anything to Spotify would have to use a label or a middleman. For independent artists, this usually involved paying a fee to a third-party service (Verge). While this did allow anyone to upload music, it was constrictive, as the artist had to pay just to upload.

The new program is currently in beta and not available to everyone, yet; however, they will be adding more artists as the months go on. While currently exclusive, it makes sense to only start with a small portion of artists.

It’s important to mention that this new program doesn’t work like Soundcloud. These direct uploads allow the artists to plan a release for their music. Once the music is released, the artists will be in full control of their metadata and get simple-to-understand data about their music’s streaming statistics (Spotify).

Spotify also plainly stated that artists will receive their royalty payments at the end of every month. They also claimed they wouldn’t charge the artist a fee to upload or to keep their music on the platform.

I would argue that this is really important. Spotify is easily one of the biggest music sharing platforms in the world. According to Statsia, Spotify currently has around 83 million paying subscribers. In 2018, from just January to June, Spotify gained 13 million paying subscribers. That is a large number of new subscribers.

Previously, Spotify has been criticized for not providing independent artists a hospitable atmosphere. They’ve always been the top-of-the-chart music streaming service. Now with this new program, Spotify has decided to change their tune. They will still of course cater to the big music labels and famous artists, but now, new artists will have the opportunity to distribute their music to the public in an easier way, on a mass scale. That, and it makes it easier for independent artists to make money.

Think of it like this: YouTube has created celebrities via its free uploads and wide distribution. Spotify is now following that same idea, but with music. If this program continues, it could be a useful tool in helping the music world discover new stars. This is important for music consumers, and even more so if you make music or want to make music. Now, a well-reputed platform that serves as a powerful distribution tool is being opened to you.

If there is any flaw to this news, I would say it is how long Spotify took to get here. They’ve been around for years, and only now are they deciding to become a more welcoming environment for indie artists. I think they should have done this sooner.

I’m personally excited to see where this program will go. I listen to a lot of music on Spotify–around 100,000 hours last year on the platform. Independent artists are fun to discover, and I am always happy to expand my playlist by searching for lesser-known artists.

I also know a fair amount of people who make their own music. The college atmosphere is filled with people that have big aspirations. Some these people I know are extremely passionate about their music. While I don’t know all of their thoughts, I have to think that any aspiring artist will find this program appealing. How could they not?

Hopefully this beta program goes well and Spotify will launch the full service soon. We’ll see how well it works if in a year a rise of indie artists find their way to the top of the charts. Until then, we’ll have to wait and see.