Spotify Tests New Feature Allowing Independent Musicians to Upload Their Music Directly for Free

Spotify made an announcement today about a new feature that will allow unsigned, independent artists to upload their music directly to the platform for free. While larger labels are able to upload music directly to the platform, independent artists have to pay a third-party digital aggregation service like TuneCore to upload music on their behalf.

The new feature is contained within the existing Spotify for Artists platform, which already offers other features like the ability for artists to view data about their listeners and to submit their music for editorial playlist consideration. The direct upload interface will have a place for artists to upload their music and any accompanying artwork, select the release type (single, album, EP, etc.), and pick a release day.

Unlike SoundCloud, music directly uploaded to Spotify won't be immediately available, so the company suggests that artists upload all of their content and supplementary material at least five days in advance. This gives Spotify time to cross-check the content for infringement and to make sure it's not a duplicate of something that's already been shared with the platform.

Also included in the new addition to the Spotify for Artists interface will be a place for viewing and managing royalty information and data. Spotify product lead Kene Anoliefo told The Verge that Spotify will pay these independent artists 50 percent of its net revenue and 100 percent of the royalties for the songs directly upload, paid out in automatic monthly royalty checks. When juxtaposed with Spotify's 52 to 55 percent payout agreement with Universal Music Group (which becomes less, after expenses, when it gets to the artist's pocket), the figure seems fair.

Spotify has been beta-testing the new feature on an invite-only basis with artists like VIAA and Michael Brun for the past few months but has yet to roll the feature out to the public, despite its announcement. When asked by The Verge when we can expect a wider release, Anoliefo stated that the company is still in the early stages of testing. “Our plan is to first focus on learning from the artists, get their feedback, and then make future plans about how it will become available to more artists.”

With the growing success of label-skirting, purposely independent artists like Chance the Rapper, and with Spotify's reported 83 million paid subscribers (roughly double that when unpaid accounts are included), this new SoundCloud-esque feature could have a considerable impact on the indie music scene if and when it's rolled out publicly.

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