After testing their beta program for less than a year, Spotify has decided to shut down the test program that allows independent artists to upload their music to the streaming service without the help of third-party distributors.
Ending on July 30, the test program eliminated the use of pre-approved distributors that unsigned artists had to go through to upload their music to Spotify. Through the months since its launch in September, Spotify has determined the lack of third-party distributors and the complexity with monitoring artists’ rights and potential abuse from piracy make the test program more complicated than helpful.
“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,” Spotify wrote in a blog post.
The test program will be reversed and artists will now have to go through the pre-approved distributors like before. Spotify’s preferred distributors are CD Baby, EmuBands and DistroKid, and Spotify owns a minor investment in the latter.
According to Spotify, more than 300,000 artists use their Spotify for Artists tools, and more than 36,000 artists use their playlist submission tool to get their music added to Spotify-curated playlists.
One of the biggest users of Spotify’s beta program is rapper Noname and the uploading of her critically acclaimed album Room 25, which was one of Paste’s best hip-hop albums of 2018. Noname, along with every other indie artists using the beta program, will have to transfer all their previous music that was uploaded by the testing program over to another distributor. Those artists will also receive discount codes for Spotify’s preferred distributors.
“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,” the service’s blog post concludes.