Spotify is ending their Upload Beta program. The program is slated to wrap up some time at the end of July, two months shy of a year after it started.
Started in September 2018, the Upload Beta program allowed independent artists to bypass distributers and upload their music directly to the streaming giant through their Spotify For Artists account for free. Artists, who continued to maintain the rights to their music through the program, were able to gather royalties directly from Spotify as well.
According to a post on the Spotify For Artists blog, the company is ending the program due to feedback they received from artists participating in the beta. Spotify found that the best way to help their artists came down to relying more on their 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. 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.”
Instead of focusing on distribution, Spotify will be improving the tools they already offer. The post continues,
“The best way for us to serve artists and labels is to focus our resources on developing tools in areas where Spotify can uniquely benefit them — like Spotify for Artists (which more than 300,000 creators use to gain new insight into their audience) and our playlist submission tool (which more than 36,000 artists have used to get playlisted for the very first time since it launched a year ago). We have a lot more planned here in the coming months.”
Artists who had been participating in the Upload Beta will now have to find a new provider for their music, as anything uploaded during the program will need to be taken down. Spotify plans to aid artists in migrating their work to other platforms.
“Artists who have released music in the beta should review our FAQs and keep an eye on their email for more details — including discount codes from our preferred distributors. They can reach out to our dedicated customer support team for personalized assistance.”
The program had been met with criticism from the beginning. Upon its initial launch, record labels were upset that the streaming giant was making deals directly with artists, undermining their usefulness. This new move seems to alleviate some of that worry. Said CD Baby’s VP of Creator Services Jon Bahr to Billboard:
“The end of Spotify’s Direct Upload business demonstrates the value that distributors like CD Baby contribute to the music ecosystem.”
Companies like CD Baby and TuneCore are already jumping in to help artists who need to move their music. Said Bahr:
“CD Baby has recently expanded our Creator Services team to offer more strategic resources to top independent artists. We’re excited to help anyone whose music is being removed from Spotify’s Direct Upload service, and we’re ready to make the most of both past and future releases.” TuneCore CEO Scott Ackerman also commented, saying in the same Billboard article, “TuneCore has worked with Spotify since day one, and we will continue to grow our artists’ reach and revenue opportunities on their platform. We are committed to serving the needs of independent artists with distribution services to more than 150 digital stores and streaming services worldwide.”
“Thank you to the artists who participated in our upload beta,” concludes Spotify’s blog post.
“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.”