Striking a deal with any label or ‘aggregator’ worth its salt today should mean one thing to an artist above all else: when your career trajectory starts to rise, there are multiple layers of support and promotion behind you.
Spotify isn’t the only game in town. Hits Daily Double reported
last month how the duopoly of Spotify and Apple Music shrunk from 90% to 75%, and there is increasing competition from Amazon, Google, and now Pandora owned by SiriusXM. This puts distributors like Tunecore, STEM, CDBaby, etc. in an interesting position. Music streaming is maturing in the west beyond a single couple of services and artists eventually will want their music on each platform. Directly uploading to Spotify might be nice for some but won’t shift in one’s overall distribution strategy.
Artists already can upload to SoundCloud and YouTube without much concern for their potential audience in other markets that might not use those services as much and Spotify will certain gain from that factor. Once the door is open just being able to upload one’s music to the service will be a boon some acts and I’m sure Spotify already pre-wrote those press release. Still if it were 2013 then potentially this could’ve reshaped music streaming but Spotify is losing, not gaining ground in this space within the overall market. Each move they make will cause ripples in the industry but each one is shrinking as other platforms command more space.
(Side Note: SoundCloud, if you’re listening, that your platform doesn’t offer a Twitch-like way to directly pay artists in 2018 makes me want to pull out my hair. I don’t think this Spotify news spells doom since SoundCloud offers too many community/artist first features Spotify lacks, but their value is ever slipping.)
Spotify’s announcement shows how much further all these platforms need to go in catering towards and helping the artists who use them. Instead product homogenization is the broad trend of 2018 music streaming. What helps artists and in turn make each of these services more compelling to users is further splintering apart, but most of these companies are content appealing to a mythical company in the sky that need of a music streaming service and are making sure they’re hitting potential investor check boxes. (I’m sure investors are stocked.) Music platforms are catering more towards spreadsheets and a drive for interesting ideas is getting left behind.