A few weeks ago, Spotify announced that they are deleting the program where artists could upload themselves straight to Spotify. No explanation was given or how they would deal with their partnership with Distrokid.
This was just the most stupid thing from the beginning, so no surprise that it was closed before it even survived a year. I guess they wanted to be able to pick out some good artist straight from a new artist that would upload. The reality is that most artists who have something going is already going through a label, most labels wouldn't use a distribution that is open for everyone since they always have the worst percentage and the worst service.
A smart service easily takes off music uploaded from the open distribution systems and gives favours to the more closed ones in the form of PR and exposure. And they do, but no one will ever talk about that. Services like Spinnup, Amuse, Distroskid are made for amateurs. No control of the quality. Sure there might be one out of 10 000 that is good, still, the streaming services can easily ignore those few. So just by having their logo around your music easily tell us you are just another happy amateur putting up music like it is a Facebook post.
The closed ones are better they put a higher standard on the upload and what should go with it. Here you have Universal, Sony, Kontor New Media, The Orchard, INgrooves and so on. You need to be semi-professional to upload to these services, with slightly better control over quality. And here they know out of 10000 it's more than 5000 that is well promoted. Probably as high as 3000 is really good.
If you want good things exposed on your streaming platform yes this is an easy equation. So why did Spotify just open a stupid channel where they would get a lot of crappy music? A guess would be that in the future they would give these few good ones real benefits and then all artists would leave the other systems. The problem here is that is a Utopia. The other services at least provide you access to all services not just to a single one. So just the most clueless artist would upload direct.
Here we can move over to the next nail in the Spotify coffin. Uploading just to one service is a doomed project. We can easily see that the music industry itself is going more against YouTube because of reach to potential consumers. Also, the whole game of streaming numbers is dying very fast. Right now you one see amateurs asking for Spotify promotion. Soon we will laugh about these numbers as we are laughing about My Space numbers. The service that grows most in the west is Amazon in an exact manner how Itunes became the biggest at the beginning of the century. Itunes was just opened so Apple could sell iPods and then iPhones. They integrated the technology with the store to purchase it. The consumer was more or less locked to their system and happy with it. Here Amazon has been smart, they go so fast because of the smart speakers that people buy. Well, people like smart easy solutions so Amazon is up 70% in their streaming service. More than Apple that just revealed they will take off Itunes download (thank god) and Spotify.
The third nail in the Spotify coffin is that it becomes more and more clear that most of their numbers are built upon bots, not real people. They didn't manage to block out the cheaters. Their system, in the end, is full of crap that is promoted in a sketchy way. The only thing that succeeded with was to prolong the crappy EDM music that still hangs around even though people stopped listening to it.
Will Amazon do the same mistake? Probably not. They don't care to promote the music. All they care is to deliver what the person says to the speaker. My guess is that these top lists will be more accurate than the ones we have right now. Yes, we will find out that many people listen to crap music in their secret world (and prove that people actually are not listening to crappy EDM, more to Spice Girls). The problem the industry will have is how do we reach people to get them to say my artist’s name and song to the speaker?
Editor's Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals. Peter has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and SuperBowl.