Spotify has announced a beta program that allows artists to upload music directly to the streaming platform from their Spotify For Artists platform at no cost. Free distribution puts the streamer more directly in competition with SoundCloud, low cost distributors like TuneCore and even record labels.
It's an option, however, that the traditionally more closed Apple Music eco-system seems unlikely to mirror.
Spotify's plan is to eventually roll out free uploads to all musicians with a Spotify for Artists account, which paradoxically is only open to artists with music already on the platform.
"Starting today we’re inviting more artists to participate in the beta," according to Spotify. "We worked with a handful of independent artists and labels — like Noname, Michael Brun, VIAA, and Hot Shade — to make sure we kept your needs in mind. Their feedback was instrumental in shaping the feature, and now we’re ready to see how a wider range of artists will put it to use."
For now the beta is expanding, but still invite only.
How it works:
"You’ll be able to deliver music straight to Spotify and plan for the perfect release day. You’ll see a preview of exactly how things will appear to listeners before you hit submit. And even after your music goes live, you’ll be in full control of your metadata with simple and quick edits.
Just like releasing through any other partner, you'll get paid when fans stream your music on Spotify. Your recording royalties will hit your bank account automatically each month, and you’ll see a clear report of how much your streams are earning right next to the other insights you already get from Spotify for Artists. Uploading is free to all artists, and Spotify doesn’t charge you any fees or commissions no matter how frequently you release music."