Spotify has cancelled its plans to become a distributor. In September last year, Spotify stated a new Spotify For Artists beta service which enabled independent artists to upload their music cost-free, without any need for a record label or third-party. A month later, Spotify took more significant steps, revealing that it had acquired a stake in Distrokid, which allowed the artist to not only upload music on their platform but also Apple Music and TIDAL.

This was a definite hurdle to the likes of TuneCore, Ditto, Amuse and CD Baby – not to mention SoundCloud – with Spotify particularly laying down the gauntlet by declining to charge artists any money for its upload service.

Spotify has officially inverted its decision to become a distributor of music, declaring that it’s closing its Upload Beta Program for independent artists.

When asked why they are quitting distribution they said, “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.”

On their blog, Spotify stated: “Today, we notified participating artists about our decision to close the beta program, along with how we can help them migrate their music to other distributors over the next month.

Spotify regarded that “insights and feedback” it received from artists in the beta led to these two key conclusions:

  • “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.”
  • “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.”

They stated that “We’re working with our distribution partners to help make this transition as simple as possible for the artists who uploaded music through the beta. At the end of this month, we’ll stop accepting any new uploads through Spotify for Artists, and artists will need to move their already released content to another provider.” and added: “Thank you to the artists who participated in our upload beta. 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.”

Spotify’s decision to quit digital distribution comes less than a month after VC-backed company Stem declared plans to retreat from the DIY space.

Stem will now rather exclusively focus on a curated list of artists, shedding its relationship with thousands of DIY artists.


A dental surgeon by profession, Ankit changed his stream to Music Production and Audio Engineering in 2016. He has since created a Music Promotions Agency and an Artist Management/Label to contribute to India's ever-growing music industry. With a knack for Music Business and tastemaking, he intends to share knowledge and music with everyone!

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